BOSTON - Earlier in July, the Boston Red Sox made a deal with the Baltimore Orioles for one of their starting pitchers, Andrew Cashner. Cashner was the type of guy expected to help solidifying Boston's starting rotation, which was sorely lacking in a consistent and reliable fifth option. So far, Cashner has been okay - certainly an upgrade from the rotating caravan of misfits the Sox have tried to plug in alongside Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Eduardo Rodriguez, but still, his first starts in a Red Sox uniform.
After the Cashner deal, it was widely speculated that general manager Dave Dombrowski would seek to improve the bullpen by either adding a closer, depending on how management felt about Nathan Eovaldi’s ability to perform in such a capacity, or strengthening the middle relief roles of the bullpen. Boston’s crew of relievers has ranked near the bottom of all MLB bullpens so it only made sense that the Red Sox would want to get better in this department before diving head first into the pennant race.
Bu in spite of this apparent need, Boston ultimately traded for no one. That’s right. Nobody. And of all the possibilities I anticipated writing about today, this one is easily the most shocking decision of all.
It just baffles me. The weakest part of Boston’s 2018 championship team was the bullpen, though obviously it was still able to get the job done. This was thanks to players like Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel, who have both left Boston and were never replaced in any meaningful capacity. This has been a problem for months - for almost a year - and yet the team has made no moves to rectify the problem. Boston has seen 18 blown saves this year. They’re only nine games back of the New York Yankees. But what's even more baffling than the lack of moves by the Red Sox front office is Dombrowski’s justification for it. He said the team hasn’t been close enough to first place to warrant a trade like that. How can he realize that the problem is not of his own making?
Frankly, unless every injured pitcher suddenly rebounds to their peak form, the bullpen of the Red Sox will be their downfall this year. And it’s insane to me that the front office did nothing about it, instead choosing to potentially waste incredible years from the members of their young offensive core.