MLB Trade Deadline: Boston Red Sox should add to the bullpen

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 25: Hunter Strickland
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 25: Hunter Strickland /

The MLB Trade Deadline is quickly approaching, and while the Boston Red Sox focus has been on third base a player or two should also be added to the bullpen.

While many Boston Red Sox fans are clamoring for the club to make a trade to address the 3B situation, a trade for an outstanding reliever could put the team in true World Series contention.

Boston should address that 3B situation, but I believe a reliever will be even more crucial down the stretch. We all know that pitching wins championships. The Red Sox bullpen hasn’t been bad, they’ve been pretty good overall in fact, but an improvement could make them one of the league’s best. There will be plenty of arms available over the next few days, and the Sox have surely already taken a look at a few of their options.

To me, there are four guys that stick out as possible targets for the Red Sox prior to the deadline. Those players are Hunter Strickland of the Giants, Pat Neshek of the Phillies, Addison Reed of the Mets, and Justin Wilson of the Tigers. Let’s take a look at how each of those pitchers has performed so far in 2017, and how they’d help Boston’s bullpen.

Hunter Strickland, Giants

2017: 39 Games, 34.0 IP, 1.85 ERA, 29 H, 7 ER, 36 K, 2 BB

Of all of the players listed here, Hunter Strickland would be the guy that I want most. The Red Sox have shown interest in Giants infielder Eduardo Nunez, so perhaps they could land both in a package deal. Boston would, of course, have to give up a bit more to add a player like Strickland, who is also under club control for another four seasons.

Strickland is just 28-years old and he has a fastball that can get up to 100 MPH. He could be the type of guy that the Red Sox need in the bullpen to set up for closer Craig Kimbrel. It would appear that a Strickland-Kimbrel duo could shut down opponents to end games for years to come.

It’s unclear if the Giants are shopping Strickland or not, but if I’m the Red Sox I’m throwing his name into every Nunez discussion that takes place.

Pat Neshek, Phillies

2017: 41 Games, 38.1 IP, 1.17 ERA, 27 H, 5 ER, 41 K, 5 BB

The Phillies are in last-place so they’ll certainly be sellers at the deadline. With Neshek’s production though, the asking price may be too high for the Red Sox. At 36-years old and as a rental maybe the Sox can get the price down low enough to where this trade would make sense. Neshek would be a tremendous setup man to have in the postseason.

It does seem possible that Boston could acquire Neshek without giving up both Rafael Devers and Jason Groome.

Addison Reed, Mets

2017: 44 Games, 46.0 IP, 2.35 ERA, 42 H, 12 ER, 47 K, 5 BB

The Red Sox would not need to give a ton up to land Addison Reed at the deadline, as he is another rental option. He took over as the Mets closer in May, and his numbers have gotten even better as he has a 1.37 ERA in that role.

Reed’s owed about $3.8 million for the rest of the season, and Boston could surely find a way to fit that into their budget if it means a real chance at a World Series title.

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Justin Wilson, Tigers

2017: 38 Games, 36.0 IP, 2.75 ERA, 20 H, 11 ER, 50 K, 14 BB

A solid lefty, Justin Wilson would be a welcome addition to the Boston bullpen. While his 2017 numbers don’t quite stack up to other available options, that could help to make him a bit more affordable.

Wilson is striking out batters at a career-best rate of 12.5 per 9 innings. Wilson would be another option as a setup man ahead of closer Craig Kimbrel.

Wilson is also under club control for one more season following 2017.

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Which player would you most like to see added to the Boston Red Sox bullpen ahead of the MLB Trade Deadline? I believe any one of these four players could help put the team over the edge and make them true contenders both in the American League and for a World Series title.