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2023 Red Sox Offseason Evaluation: Relief Pitching

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The Boston Red Sox have already started to evaluate their roster for the 2023 season, with a focus on relief pitching. After a disappointing season in that area, the Red Sox front office is determined to make some changes and improve the bullpen for the next year. In this article, we will take a closer look at the Red Sox’s current relief pitching situation, explore potential targets in the free-agent market, and evaluate possible trades to bolster the team’s chances of success in 2023.

Introduction

The Boston Red Sox had a successful 2023 season, finishing with a 90-72 record and earning a wild-card spot in the playoffs. However, as the team heads into the offseason, there are areas that need to be addressed in order to make a deeper run in 2024. One of those areas is relief pitching.

Current Situation

The Red Sox bullpen performed well in 2023, finishing with a 3.98 ERA, which ranked 11th in the league. The team had a few reliable options in the late innings, including closer Jordan Hicks, setup man Blake Treinen, and lefty specialist Adam Conley.

However, the team also had some struggles in the bullpen. Relievers Tyler Thornburg and Brandon Brennan both had ERA’s over 7, and there were times when the bullpen blew leads or struggled to hold on to them.

Free Agent Options

There are a few intriguing free agents that the Red Sox could target this offseason to improve their bullpen. The top closer on the market is Kenley Jansen, who had a strong 2.92 ERA and 37 saves in 2023. He would provide a reliable option to close out games.

Another option is lefty reliever Aaron Loup, who had a 2.35 ERA in 2023 and would provide a reliable option against left-handed hitters.

The team could also consider bringing back former reliever Craig Kimbrel, who had a successful stint with the Red Sox in the past. Kimbrel struggled in 2023, but has the potential to provide a dominant option out of the bullpen.

Trade Options

The Red Sox also have some assets that could be used to improve their bullpen through trades. Outfielder Alex Verdugo had a strong season in 2023, hitting .297 with 22 home runs and 77 RBI’s. He could be a valuable trade chip to bring in a top-tier reliever.

Another option is top prospect Triston Casas, who had a strong season in the minors and could be ready to contribute at the major league level in 2024. He could be used to acquire a top reliever or package with other prospects to bring in multiple bullpen options.

Internal Options

The Red Sox also have some internal options to consider. Rafael Devers had a successful rookie campaign as a reliever, finishing with a 2.92 ERA in 48 appearances. He could potentially move into a late-inning role in 2024.

Another option is Darwinzon Hernandez, who had an impressive 2.79 ERA in 65 appearances in 2023. He has the potential to be a dominant left-handed option out of the bullpen in the future.

Conclusion

The Red Sox have some options to consider as they look to improve their bullpen in the offseason. Free agents Kenley Jansen and Aaron Loup, as well as former Red Sox reliever Craig Kimbrel, could all provide upgrades to the bullpen.

Additionally, the team has valuable assets in Alex Verdugo and Triston Casas that could be used to bring in multiple bullpen options through trades.

Finally, the team also has some internal options to consider, including Rafael Devers and Darwinzon Hernandez. Regardless of the path they take, improving the bullpen will be a key factor in the team’s success in 2024.

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