So, what’s next?
While Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski would neither confirm nor deny whether he intends to make any more moves before the July 31 trade deadline, Boston’s bullpen still could use reinforcements, even with Nathan Eovaldi set to become the team’s closer upon returning from the injured list.
ESPN’s Dave Schoenfield identified one player each team should trade for or deal away in a piece published Tuesday. He believes the Red Sox should acquire pitcher Ian Kennedy from the Kansas City Royals, who are obvious sellers amid a dismal 2019 season.
Here’s what Schoenfield wrote:
They already acquired Andrew Cashner, who had been surprisingly effective with an awful Orioles team, but it doesn’t take an MIT rocket scientist to figure out the team still needs more bullpen help. Kennedy has been effective for the Royals with a 3.41 ERA and strong peripherals: 45-8 strikeout-walk ratio and just two home runs allowed in 45 innings. He could serve in any late-inning capacity, including closer.
Kennedy, 34, spent his entire career as a starter before transitioning to the bullpen this season. The right-hander has adapted well to the role, posting career-bests in strikeouts per nine innings (10.9) and walks per nine innings (2.1) along with a 2.26 FIP that suggests he’s pitched even better than his strong ERA indicates.
The problem is Kennedy, who signed a five-year, $70 million contract in January 2016, is earning $16.5 million this season and next. The Royals will need to absorb a substantial amount of money to find any trade partner, let alone entice the Red Sox, who don’t have much financial flexibility given their desire to stay below the $246 million luxury tax threshold.
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