Dave Dombrowski isn’t one for beating around the bush.
Sure, the Boston Red Sox had more than one weakness entering Monday. But their most pressing need ahead of Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline was an effective setup man for closer Craig Kimbrel. So, the Red Sox’s president of baseball operations got to work.
Before the clock even struck noon, reports surfaced that Boston had agreed to a deal for New York Mets reliever Addison Reed. A few hours later, the trade was official: Reed to the Red Sox in return for three minor league pitchers, none of whom ranked higher than 18th in Boston’s farm system, per MLB.com.
Reed is by no means a dominant force. He has struggled away from Citi Field this season (4.43 road ERA) and has a pedestrian 48 strikeouts in 49 innings. But the 28-year-old right-hander helps shore up the one hole in Boston’s bullpen: an eighth-inning specialist.
Reed has pitched in high-leverage situations all year as the Mets’ interim closer (19 saves in 21 chances). With Joe Kelly on the shelf, Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith out for the foreseeable future and Matt Barnes struggling, he’ll be asked to do the same for the Red Sox, and his 2.09 ERA in two-plus seasons with the Mets suggests he’s up for the task.
Boston’s dealings ended with the Reed acquisition, though. Dombrowski declined to pursue a power bat or add more depth at third base, where the Sox appear content with rookie Rafael Devers and new utility man Eduardo Nunez. One could argue a slugger was a top priority for Boston, which enters Monday ranked 28th in baseball with just 105 home runs in 106 games. But such a player would have required Dombrowski to further gut an already thin farm system.
In dealing relatively low-level prospects for Reed and Nunez, the Sox addressed their needs without seriously mortgaging their future. They also placed faith in the current roster, which features several hitters who have under-performed to date — Xander Bogaerts has just six home runs after hitting 21 last year, while Mookie Betts is hitting an unsavory .269 after his 2016 MVP runner-up campaign.
Boston isn’t an airtight club after Monday’s deadline maneuverings, and faces a tough task of competing with Sonny Gray and the suddenly retooled New York Yankees. But the Red Sox sit just a half game out of first place in the American League East and have the talent to win the division.
Dombrowski did his job before 4 p.m. ET. Now, it’s the Red Sox’s turn to do theirs.
Thumbnail photo via Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports Images
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