The Red Sox didn’t add a reliever before Tuesday’s Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline, resulting in some criticism despite president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski bolstering Boston’s roster in recent weeks with the additions of first baseman/outfielder Steve Pearce, starter Nathan Eovaldi and second baseman Ian Kinsler.
On Wednesday, Dombrowski defended the Red Sox against that criticism on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni and Fauria,” further explaining why he didn’t feel the need to pull the trigger on a deal for bullpen help.
“Unfortunately, when I’m talking to you guys here, it sounds like we don’t have anybody that can get anybody out in the bullpen, but we have one of the top-ranked bullpens in the game,” Dombrowski said, as transcribed by WEEI.com. “So we’re in a situation, when you start looking at them and comparing them to other people, I always say, ‘Who are you comparing them to?’
“When you start scouting, you say, well, Tyler Thornburg, he’s back to throwing in the mid-90s and was one of the top relievers in baseball a couple of years ago. He’s throwing really well for us, we’re encouraged by him. Heath Hembree isn’t as highly regarded as our closer, Craig Kimbrel, who’s one of the best, and Matt Barnes, who when you look at his stats has been one of the best guys in the seventh and eighth inning, but Heath Hembree’s done a very nice job for us. We added Ryan Brasier, who’s not a big-name player, but he’s throwing the ball very well. We have who we just brought back up, Brandon Workman, who we like a lot and has been very effective in the postseason and has experience. Steven Wright is going to come back, and we think he could start or relieve, and it would be very beneficial for him to pitch out of the bullpen this year, rather than start him. Eduardo Rodriguez is a very good pitcher, and we look for him to come back and stretch out to start at some point.”
Basically, Dombrowski is comfortable with Boston’s current collection of pitchers, to the point where he felt it was unnecessary to relinquish assets in exchange for bullpen reinforcements. He also isn’t concerned about any lack of experience or the idea the Red Sox needed to acquire a reliever with playoff experience.
“I can speak here — all of you would be familiar with the Red Sox in 2013 — Brandon Workman, who had very limited experience at the big league level, came up and performed extremely well in the postseason,” Dombrowski said, per WEEI.com. “Perhaps the Red Sox wouldn’t have won the World Series without him. He didn’t have the experience at that time, yet he pitched very well. So I think you combine all of those things together, and hopefully you make wise decisions. If not, then unfortunately it comes back, and you didn’t do the best job for the organization at that time.
“But you also have to consider what other alternatives are out there compared to what you may already have. … We just think these guys will play better than the guys who were available.”
The trade market featured a surplus of relievers, which several contenders, including the New York Yankees and Houston Astros, took advantage of leading up to Tuesday’s deadline. But the asking prices combined with Dombrowski’s confidence in his own ‘pen steered the Red Sox away from tapping into it, for better or worse.