Shopping for Southpaws?

Posted on Feb 13 2016 - 9:07am by Greg Gisolfi

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Could the Red Sox add more arms?

Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe sure thinks so.

The Sox heavy lifting is done, whether we like it or not. They’re looking for a good deal at this point. I’m glad the focus is in an area where the Sox could absolutely afford some more insurance: the bullpen. If you read Abraham’s post, you’ll see he references veteran Neal Cotts, and old friend(?) Franklin Morales.

Both of these guys would potentially be “low-risk, high-reward” guys, but that kind of worries me, to be frank (no pun intended… sort of).

Look at the Sox’ most recent low-risk guys… Justin Masterson, Grady Sizemore, A.J. Pierzynski (yes, I still have to google how to spell that clown’s name). Point being, they were all train wrecks. The difference is with guys like Cotts and Morales is that they’d be in a really solid bullpen without a ton of pressure, relatively speaking.

In a pen with Craig Kimbrel, Koji Uehara, Carson Smith and Junichi Tazawa slotted to pitch in the late innings, a guy like Cotts or Morales would merely be insurance for the lone lefties in the pen in Robbie Ross and Tommy Layne.

Morales is the younger guy, and he has experience in Boston, and is coming off a year on a World Series winning team, compiling a 3.18 ERA in 62.1 innings pitched. I’d welcome him back if the price was right, and I feel he could be a solid lefty out of the pen, as well as stepping in for Tazawa or Smith if they’re injured or need a night off. He just turned 30 less than a month ago, and working with the bullpen savvy Royals last year I’m sure helped him realize who he is as a pitcher and what he’s capable of doing.

Cotts intrigues me too. He’s 35, would be 36 by Opening Day; but since his renaissance season with Texas in 2013, Cotts has shown that he can still be an effective piece in a pen. In a relatively similar workload as Morales (63.1 IP), he recorded a 3.41 ERA for the Brewers and Twins in 2015. Again, if he’s cheap, bring him on board.

Neither of these guys are going to win a Relief Man of The Year award, but as the game evolves to bullpen-centric, it’s been shown that bullpens need both quality and quantity.

The Sox already acquired their “quality” in Kimbrel and Smith, and now it’s about “quantity”. (Not saying Cotts and Morales aren’t good, it’s just a metaphor. Go with it.)

If I were sitting in my office puffing a big stoagie and drinking scotch, which Dave Dombrowski is undeniably doing right now, I’d be making calls to both these guys’ agents, and making sure my bullpen is loaded.

Stay tuned… Maybe you can pull that rare Morales shirsey out of retirement.

 
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