If there was one glaring weakness for the Boston Red Sox in their otherwise historic 2018 season, it was the bullpen.
Those concerns largely dissipated in the playoffs when Boston more or less cruised to the World Series title behind an incredible step-up performance from the bullpen, which was also helped along by contributions from starter Nathan Eovaldi.
Yet, as the offseason gets kicked into high gear with the winter meetings this week in Las Vegas, the Red Sox are tasked with retooling the bullpen, especially if both Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly opt to leave in free agency.
Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Sunday night that the Red Sox are involved in the reliever market and have free agent relievers Adam Ottavino and David Robertson high on their list.
Ottavino is an interesting case, as he’s entering the market after a career season in Colorado of all places. The 33-year-old bought into the Driveline Baseball offseason program last winter, which helped him reinvent himself. Ottavino started throwing his cutter more and used an improved spin rate on his slider to hold opposing hitters a .154 batting average in 2018 — a nearly 100-point drop from his career mark.
Robertson, meanwhile, is a familiar face to the Red Sox from his time in the American League, mostly with the rival New York Yankees. The 33-year-old has been extremely durable, appearing in at least 60 games in each of the last nine seasons. He pitched in 69 games for the Yankees last season, posting a 1.03 WHIP and striking out 91 batters in just 69 2/3 innings.
As Heyman also notes, there’s no shortage of relief options on the market this winter, with Zach Britton, Jeurys Familia and Andrew Miller all available as well.