The Boston Red Sox blew yet another save on Saturday night, proving once and for all that they need to make a trade for a closer.
Thankfully, the Aug. 2 trade deadline is right around the corner. But which closers are available for Boston?
Neither Matt Barnes nor Hansel Robles has proven stable enough to man the closer position. While either could reshape their approach and be a back-of-the-bullpen presence, neither should be closing games. It takes a far different mentality do finish out a close ballgame, and both players have proven they are not capable.
Boston’s best chance at competing for a playoff spot long-term and making a serious run in October is to trade for a back-end reliever. These three make the most sense:
Red Sox trade targets: Daniel Bard
I should note that the Rockies reportedly have no intent on trading Bard — though that was last offseason. At this point, Colorado is fading out of the playoff race and if that continues, all options are on the table.
Bard’s having his best season yet, pitching to a 2.22 ERA and 12 saves. He’s a familiar face to Boston fans, as he used to be a prized prospect in the Sox system. At that point, he was viewed as a starter, but he has since reinvented himself as a relief pitcher. At 37 years old, Bard could come relatively cheap in comparison to the other two closers on this list.
Red Sox trade targets: Michael Fulmer/Gregory Soto
I’m adding this as a two-for, in part because Fulmer doesn’t have much closing experience. He’s one of the best set-up relief pitchers in baseball, and is set to be a free agent after this season. He is the cheaper of the two acquisitions listed here.
Soto, on the other hand, would cost Boston an arm and a leg in prospects. Want to hold onto Triston Casas? Then deal for Fulmer instead. Soto is considered one of the more electric back-end arms in all of baseball. He can throw near-triple digits, and has the breaking stuff to boot.
Red Sox trade targets: David Bednar
Bednar is pre-arbitration, so forgive me for saying this is highly, highly unlikely. However, Pittsburgh is in no position to compete and it feels like they’re wasting Bednar’s talents. Last season, Bednar cemented himself as one of the best closers in all of baseball with a 2.23 ERA. He’s backed that up this season with his first experience as a closer, which has gone smoothly and then some.
Bednar has 10 saves on the season, and a 1.29 ERA to boot. His fastball can hit the upper-90’s and he brings excellent control to any bullpen. He’d fit right in with the Sox, if they were to throw the farm in Pittsburgh’s direction.
Given Chaim Bloom’s reluctance to trade prospects, however, the likes of Fulmer and/or Bard are a little more realistic.