Marlon Byrd Can Help Red Sox in Short Term, But Season Will Continue to Slip Away Until Help Comes to Bullpen

Marlon Byrd Can Help Red Sox in Short Term, But Season Will Continue to Slip Away Until Help Comes to BullpenThe Red Sox made a transaction Saturday afternoon that will help them with a minor issue, but it is far from a permanent fix for a team that has larger problems.

Marlon Byrd was traded to the Red Sox in exchange for Michael Bowden and cash. The trade took place on the same day that the Sox suffered one of their most horrific defeats in recent memory, and the addition of the former Cubs outfielder won't be enough to remedy Boston's slow start.

However, grabbing Byrd for the short term makes some sense. With injuries to Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford, the Red Sox have had trouble maintaining a solid set of outfielders.

That's not to say that the outfield has been a disaster for the Sox. As a matter of fact, two of the outfielders that Boston picked up during the offseason have played well for the Sox out of the gate.

Cody Ross has been a major contributor in the first couple of weeks of the 2012 season. The 2010 NLCS MVP has hit .265 with three home runs and 10 RBIs, numbers that place him among the top perfomers on the team.

Ryan Sweeney has also been solid. Sweeney is batting .390, good enough for fourth in the American League, and has delivered some clutch hits in key situations for the local nine.

Byrd will definitely serve as an offensive upgrade from the likes of Darnell McDonald and Jason Repko, who are batting .111 and .091, respectively, and with Repko's injury, the Sox were down yet another body.

The newly acquired Byrd has been a solid player during his career, batting a lifetime .278 and landing an All-Star selection in 2010.

Byrd has gotten off to a slow start this season, batting only .070 with no home runs and two RBIs. Last season, he hit .276 with nine home runs and 35 RBIs. While the Sox aren't expecting All-Star play out of him, he can be a serviceable player if he reaches his play from last year.

With Ellsbury out for several weeks, and Crawford still fighting to get back onto the field, the addition of Byrd can give the Sox another solid bat in an already potent lineup.

Unfortunately for the Sox, Byrd cannot fix Boston's major problem: its bullpen.

Once again on Saturday, the bullpen suffered a major meltdown against the Yankees. A 9-0 lead quickly became a 15-9 loss as the combination of Vicente Padilla, Matt Albers, Franklin Morales, Alfredo Aceves and Justin Thomas combined to give up 14 of the 15 runs, including two ugly seven-run innings in the seventh and eighth.

Pitching keeps crippling the Red Sox, continuing the distressing trend from last season's collapse.

That's why, what Byrd can do for the team aside, the focus for the Sox should be on fixing their problematic pitching staff. The offense has shown it can come around at times this season, and it will be there to carry this team. There are too many talented players in the lineup for the Sox to struggle offensively.

But if the Sox hope to make it back into the playoffs, something they haven't seen since 2009, then more acquisitions need to be made. Next time, hopefully, the moves will be for someone who can get outs, rather than another bat.

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