The Red Sox have until midnight on Saturday to obtain a player who would be eligible for the postseason roster. The biggest area of need would be a righthanded reliever who could get an out or two in the eighth inning.
“If there are ways we can improve, I know that those steps will be taken,” manager John Farrell said. “Concern [about the bullpen depth]? No, not really.”
At the moment, the Red Sox have Junichi Tazawa and rookie Brandon Workman as righthanded setup guys. Lefty Craig Breslow also handles righthanders well.
When rosters expand, the Sox will add some arms. But there is nobody on the way worthy of a high-leverage situation.
Tazawa is certainly capable. But he was better the first three months of the season than the last two. In his first 37 appearances (through June 27), Tazawa had a 1.08 WHIP and opponents hit .257 against him. He averaged 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings.
In the 22 appearances since, Tazawa has a 1.26 WHIP with opponents hitting .270. He has averaged 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings.
It’s not an alarming dip, but it’s a dip. Tazawa also lacks playoff experience.
“If there’s someone out there that makes sense for us to acquire, we might see that,” Farrell said.
Then there’s Ryan Dempster, who returns to the rotation on Friday. Once Clay Buchholz returns, Dempster is the logical choice to go to the bullpen. He has 225 games of relief experience, but none since 2007.