By Terry Cushman – @cushmanMLB
There are not many top reliever’s left on the market, especially if the Red Sox are looking for a bargain. On paper it would appear that the current bullpen for Alex Cora is very stout. However, it would be a bold assumption that both Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg will not only remain healthy, but also effective.
Craig Kimbrel struggled for much of his first year in Boston, so much that I thought he could be a bust as far as pitching in a big market goes. The biggest nightmare scenario would be if Smith or Thornburg turned into a Mark Melancon-type pitcher in Boston. Melancon put up a horrendous 6.20 ERA while in Boston in 2013, after posting a 2.78 ERA for Houston the year before, and a sharp 1.90 ERA with Pittsburgh the year after. He just couldn’t handle the pressures of Boston.
One off the radar option Boston can pursue is a reunion of Brad Ziegler. Ziegler put up an ugly 4.78 ERA with the Marlins in 2017, but pitched very well the final two months of the season.
While with the Red Sox Ziegler was very sharp when allowed to pitch in a clean inning. He had the lowest ERA on the team at 1.52. However, John Farrell seemed to have no idea what to do with Ziegler to the point where he was bringing him into innings with runners on base. Ziegler’s career 1.25 WHIP would certain be a cause of concern for most managers with runners on, and would certainly benefit from a clean inning. But again, this was John Farrell.
In the long shot scenario that the Red Sox did acquire Ziegler, he is owed $9M for the final year of his contract with the Marlins. He is of no value to Derek Jeter from a competitive stand point, and the asking price shouldn’t be too high for the 38 year old, who happens to the be the same exact age as Koji Uehara was during his phenomenal 2013 season in Boston. Surely Alex Cora will know exactly what to do with Ziegler, and you can never have enough arms in the pen. Especially for a tricky off speed submariner, before turning to the flame throwing Craig Kimbrel.
I would love to see it happen.
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