BOSTON - It might not seem like the Boston Red Sox won the World Series fewer than two years ago with all of the hub-bub that has surrounded the team this off-season, but it's true. We are only eighteen months removed from that 2018 championship. Remarkably, however, in that time, the team never decided to go out and get a closer.
After the championship, the Red Sox hemmed and hawed on closer Craig Kimbrel, before eventually opting not to pay him and allowing Kimbrel to walk for the Chicago Cubs instead. It ended up being the right decision, as Kimbrel floundered in Chicago. However, the wrong decision was not to procure a closer for the team at all.
One of the weakest aspects of last year's Red Sox club was the pitching, especially the bullpen. And despite all pleading, the Red Sox never went out and got themselves a closer. Instead, they rolled with a rotating platoon of pitchers who would take over the ninth inning and almost always leave it in chaos for the offensive to clean up.
If you were to look for a silver lining in this controversial bullpen decision, it would be that one reliever actually flourished in the day-to-day uncertainty of what was asked of him. Brandon Workman, who was groomed to be a starter before eventually finding himself on the team in a reliever capacity, excelled in the pen last year and was a strong candidate for the 2019 Reliever of the Year. New York's Aroldis Chapman received the trophy instead.
Last year, Workman posted a 10-1 record with a 1.88 earned run average, both of which were career-best marks by a mile. He pitched in 73 games and allowed just 29 hits in that time. His WHIP was a whopping 1.033 and, as the Red Sox staff noticed, he managed 16 saves.
This tally was enough to earn Workman the 2020 closer position for the Red Sox and it is one that fans hope he will be able to flourish in, as shared by the Boston Herald. He clearly has the stuff to be one of the league's best relievers, but if he can blossom as a closer for the first time in an official capacity, then that is one fewer question mark the Sox will have to worry about. Those seem to be in short supply these days.
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