The Boston Red Sox have greatly improved their bullpen this offseason but there’s still work to do.
Boston finished the 2022 campaign with the fifth-worst bullpen in all of baseball by ERA standards with a disappointing 4.59. The Red Sox certainly have made an effort to improve the bullpen this offseason and have done so with the additions of three-time All-Star Kenley Jansen, along with Chris Martin, Joely Rodriguez, and Richard Bleier.
While it’s likely the Red Sox’s bullpen already will be improved due to the additions the team already has made, one move that could help put the bullpen over the top would be taking a chance on former Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees star Zack Britton.
Britton has appeared in just 25 games over the last two seasons as he has dealt with injuries, but the left-handed reliever reportedly is healthy, so it wouldn’t hurt to take a chance on him. The 35-year-old compiled a 1.89 ERA in 20 appearances throughout the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign and shined even brighter the year prior with a 1.91 ERA in 2019 in 66 appearances.
The lefty is a two-time All-Star and has a career ERA of 3.13 so if he was able to even reach his career average in 2023, it would be an improvement for the club. It’s not a certainty that Britton will completely return to form after undergoing Tommy John Surgery, but a one-year deal may be appealing for Boston.
The Red Sox currently have Rodriguez and Bleier as the only left-handed pitchers out of their bullpen so adding a third could be appealing. Boston has been tied to pretty much every lefty available, so a move wouldn’t be too surprising.
If the Red Sox were to sign Britton and he was able to look anything like he did in 2020, Boston’s bullpen could be in extremely could shape. It could even compete to be one of the best in baseball. A combination of Jansen, Britton, Martin, Rodriguez, and Bleier to go along with John Schreiber and Tanner Houck could be dangerous for other teams.
There has been chatter about Britton at points throughout the offseason, but no move has been made at this point. When spring training officially kicks off next week, the Red Sox will be able to officially place Trevor Story on the 60-day injured list and open up a roster spot. This could be the perfect time for the Red Sox to make a move because they could sign Britton without having to designate anyone for assignment.
If the Red Sox were to sign Britton there is no way to know for sure that he could return to what he was — especially at the age of 35 — but he has plenty of upside and wouldn’t be too costly for Boston. He certainly is worth a second look for the Red Sox as spring training quickly approaches.