The Boston Red Sox made a significant trade Monday night — just not the one some fans expected.
The Red Sox improved their infield by acquiring veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler, and after adding pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and first baseman Steve Pearce earlier this month, they have shored up a few key areas ahead of Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline.
But depending on who you ask, there’s another pressing area Boston needs to address: its bullpen. The Sox have been linked to several relief pitchers in trade rumors and could benefit from adding a solid eighth-inning setup man behind closer Craig Kimbrel.
So, what’s the likelihood they swing one more deal Tuesday?
“I’m not sure,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters Monday night at Fenway Park. “If I was telling you right now, (a trade) would probably come out of the blue, more so.
“We still have a lot of conversations we’ve had with clubs, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the last thing that we did.”
Dombrowski also took a page from Sox reliever Matt Barnes’ book, pushing back slightly on the notion that relief pitching is a crucial need for Boston.
“I know people keep talking about our bullpen. … We like a lot of things about our bullpen,” Dombrowski said. “They’ve been pitching well.”
The Red Sox’s 3.35 bullpen ERA does rank third in the American League behind only the New York Yankees and Houston Astros, and their major-league-best 75-33 record suggests their relievers aren’t exactly costing them games.
Yet the latest reports suggest Boston is at least keeping an eye on the reliever market, so if the right deal comes up, expect Dombrowski to pick up the phone.
“We’re open-minded, but we’re also in a spot where we’re looking at who’s available, who’s not available and do they make us better,” Dombrowski said. “We’ll see. A lot of things come out of the blue the last day.”