The 2018 World Series champions have struggled to find their footing this season, continually losing ground in the playoff race as the bullpen is in dire need of reinforcement. How can the Boston Red Sox shore up their relief corps as they attempt to defend the title?
It goes without saying that this season has not gone the way the Boston Red Sox have hoped. Last year they were the best team in all of baseball, finishing the regular season with an MLB-best 108-54 record that foreshadowed their dismantling of opposing teams in October en route to winning the World Series — the club’s fourth since 2004.
Evidently, a lot has changed with the turn of the calendar. After dominating throughout all of 2018, the Red Sox have played to a 46-41 record as they trail the New York Yankees by a stark 11.0 games in the American League East. Not only are they well out of the division lead, but also sit 3 games out of the Wild Card race with a trio of teams in their way for the second spot.
The Red Sox have some catching up to do heading into the All-Star break. In order to break out of this brutal championship hangover, they need to improve their play on all fronts, but especially one in particular – the bullpen. This is clear as the BoSox’ reliever ERA of 4.60 (9th-best in the AL) won’t cut it. Neither will 17 blown saves, which is tied for the most in the junior circuit this season.
If Boston strives to repeat as World Series champs or even advance to the postseason, it is imperative they improve their relief corps. Nathan Eovaldi will supposedly be thrust into the closer role upon returning from the Injured List, but who knows how that will work out — and besides, the Red Sox’ bullpen is in need of greater reinforcements regardless.
As a result, the Red Sox will surely be scanning the trade market to acquire upgrades to the bullpen, but who should they go after? Click through for three of the best trade candidates that would make a positive impact in shoring up Boston’s back end.