The bullpen has been a thorn in the Boston Red Sox’s side many times in 2018. To say that it is a bad bullpen is, quite frankly, a bad statement. However, it seems that they may not be a threatening bullpen to opposing teams. They can get the job done, but are they reliable to have a lock-down inning when needed? Red Sox fans loathe the moment when a relief pitcher comes in to a high leverage situation, in 2018.
This season has been a fantastic one as of now. Currently at 103 wins and one win away from clinching their third AL East title in as many years. The writing seems to be already on the wall for this impending postseason. The bullpen is barely trustworthy.
This is a small cloud that is seen in a huge ray of sunshine. Not to be redundant, but this Red Sox team is legitimately good. However, every team has its weaknesses and this is one that can carry into next season if not addressed. Don’t expect a trade, as the Red Sox don’t have a lot of pieces they can afford to give away for the time being. Thus, it’s never too early to look at who the Red Sox could sign in the offseason. Here are three serious options they should consider:
1. Craig Kimbrel
Hear me out on this one before you shoot me.
Yes, we all know that Kimbrel isn’t having a fantastic season. Yes, he is having the worst season of his career when it comes down to FIP. A statistic that is, of many things, very telling of how a pitcher could perform in the future.
When it comes down to who the Red Sox currently have that can take over in case of Kimbrel’s departure, it’s frightening. Currently the closer role would have to go to Ryan Brasier, who has been the most reliable pitcher this season for the Sox. Even then, Brasier is unproven (38.1 IP in his MLB career) and Kimbrel should not be replaced with Brasier just yet. Also, some current closers on the 2019 free agent market are not worth breaking the bank for.
Kimbrel knows what it’s like to pitch in Boston, experience the media, fans, ballpark and the pressure of a big market. He’s experienced success and struggles with this team. He knows what is needed of him, and he is the best available option in the 2019 free agency class. It’s time to trust Kimbrel again.
2. Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller has been on my list of “Relief pitchers I want next season” and there are a lot of reasons as to why this still holds water. Since 2016, he is ranked first (high leverage situations) in average against, ERA, FIP, xFIP, WHIP, BB/9, and K/BB among all relief pitchers that will be a free agent in 2019.
He’s been to a World Series, seen success and failure throughout his career and is a seasoned veteran. Also to note, he has a 1.10 ERA in 32.2 Postseason innings pitched.
One final note is that he has also experienced what Boston has to offer, being that he was with the club for four seasons. He knows what is expected of him just like Kimbrel, and Miller can be the guy that can bring this bullpen to a new level if added.
3. Jeurys Familia
Never would a former Mets player would be on a list of players that I would put my trust in, yet here we are.
Jeurys Familia has quietly put together a pretty good career up to this point. Albeit, he hasn’t looked unhittable since joining Oakland but that’s besides the point. His numbers in high leverage situations are very good and he does a great job at keeping the ball in the yard. Familia is someone that the Sox can potentially replace Kimbrel with if talks fall through. He’s proven to the world that he can close out games (51 saves in 2016) and can produce in a big market city.
One final note on Familia, is that he is younger than the aforementioned options. This is one less worry for when this team has to lock up some of the younger guys.