As I'm watching the MLB playoffs, I notice something very serious. The Red Sox bullpen was nowhere CLOSE to some of these other bullpens. The Astros bullpen did a really good job of keeping the Yankees in check. The Yankees coming into the series had one of the best bullpens in baseball. Point being, the Red Sox need some drastic upgrades with their bullpen. But, what names should the Red Sox be looking at this off-season? Here are a few names I'm thinking of that the Red Sox should realistically pursue.
Will Smith (San Francisco Giants)
The San Francisco Giants didn't have a lot go right for them this season. The off-season doesn't look too promising for them either. Bruce Bochy is officially a manager of the past. Madison Bumgarner is a free agent. But, one name that Giants fans might forget about in all of this is relief pitcher Will Smith. That's perfect for Red Sox fans. Smith was 6-0 last season with a 2.76 ERA. He also was named a National League All-star for the first time in his major league career. In two and a half seasons with the Giants, Smith has a career 2.70 ERA. This is a guy that the Red Sox should be looking at intensively. He is only 30 and they can bring him in on a short-term deal for reasonable money. If the Red Sox are smart, they take a flyer on Will Smith.
Another National League team to look at is the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs, under owner Theo Epstein, have turned around their fortune from lovable losers to winners. The only problem is that the Cubs have been going in the wrong direction. Since they won the World Series in 2016, they have declined. They lost in the NLCS in 2017, the Wild Card game in 2018, and didn't reach the postseason in 2019. That means change is certainly coming. One piece that will be a free agent is right-handed reliever Brandon Kintzler. The Red Sox should be looking at Kintzler for multiple reasons. He has a career ERA of 3.37. He has pitched in the American League in the past. While being in the American League with the Twins his ERA was at a 2.98. Those are pretty good supporting details to pursue Kintzler if you ask me. Again, this can be a low risk, high reward move for the Red Sox. Give him a short term deal and have him bolster the Red Sox bullpen.
One American League name the Red Sox should look at is Will Harris. Harris will be entering his age 35 season in 2020. He has been with the Astros for the past four years. He had a very low 1.50 ERA to his credit on the 2019 season. He's been a part of a winning culture for the past four seasons. Why not bring him in on a one or two year deal? He has the intangibles to help make the Red Sox better. Get a deal done that shows Red Sox fans that you care about making the team better, especially the team's worst asset.
The Red Sox have some bullpen work to accomplish. These three names are a start of who they should target. Would any of these three be a help? Absolutely. But they can still acquire bigger pieces via a trade. For now, we'll see how the free agency market shapes up. It's going to be a long winter for us Red Sox fans.