Will the Red Sox make a splash at the Major League Baseball trade deadline? Boston is in the thick of the American League wild card race and could use a few pieces. As such, we’ll examine whether several notable trade targets make sense (or don’t make sense) as the club looks to retool for the second half of the season.
Could the Red Sox land the perfect setup man to bolster a bullpen in need of back-end talent?
Miami Marlins reliever Anthony Bass has been a force to be reckoned with this season, capable of bolstering any bullpen he’s dealt to should he be moved in the coming days. He has a $3 million salary in 2022 and a club option of the same value for 2023. The 34-year-old right-hander is having a career year and his underlying numbers indicate that his first-half stretch is not a fluke.
Age: 34 (Nov. 1, 1987)
Weight: 205 pounds
40 games, 39 2/3 innings
1-3 record, 1.36 ERA, 38 strikeouts
0.958 WHIP, 2.13 FIP, 303 ERA+
8.6 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 4.75 K/BB
327 games, 474 innings
13-28 record, 4.01 ERA, 362 strikeouts
1.289 WHIP, 4.06 FIP, 99 ERA+
6.9 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 2.15 K/BB
Why Bass makes sense for Red Sox:
The Red Sox have the second-most blown saves (20) and the worst save percentage in MLB (48.7%). John Schreiber has been a saving grace and Tanner Houck has shown promise as a closer, but two reliable bullpen arms are not enough in this era of baseball.
Bass has been one of the best relievers in the league this season and the Red Sox absolutely should be in the market for his services. The aging veteran passes all of the under-the-hood metrics with flying colors. On top of his basic statistical success, Bass has a .219 expected batting average, with three of his four pitches performing extremely well.
The Marlins hurler uses a slider (86.2 mph on average) as his primary pitch, which has a .190 batting average against and 38% whiff rate. He also features a sinker (95.3 mph, .190 BAA), a four-seam fastball (95 mph, .267 BAA), and has sprinkled in a splitter (86.5 mph, .375 BAA) eight times.
Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom reportedly is looking for a pair of right-handed arms to bolster the bullpen. Bass could fill one of those spots.
Why Bass doesn’t make sense for Red Sox:
Bass is at the peak of his powers, and his trade value has never been higher. The rule of thumb is to buy low, sell high. Boston would have to do the opposite in this case and be OK with it.
In general, an older reliever with two months left on his deal and a club option would not be too costly. But every contender in the league would benefit from acquiring Bass, which could drive up his price. The Red Sox likely would have to invest at minimum mid-level prospect value to acquire the right-hander.
Verdict: Perfect fit.
Prediction: The Red Sox will be in the mix, but he’ll ultimately land with the more aggressive Toronto Blue Jays.