Dave Dombrowski has not been patient in his first offseason as the Boston Red Sox GM. He strengthened the bullpen with a trade to the San Diego Padres and got the ace the team needed in free agency. Rick Rowand explains how Dombrowski continued acquiring talent when he sent Wade Miley to the Seattle Mariners.
The rumors of a possible deal between the Seattle Mariners and the Boston Red Sox started appearing around 12:30 P.M. on Monday when Ken Rosenthal tweeted that a deal was brewing involving a starting pitcher from the Red Sox; either Clay Buchholz or Wade Miley. A little after 2 P.M., Rosenthal confirmed that the deal would be for Miley, but didn’t name who Seattle was trading. Then, like a bolt out of the blue, Ken Davidoff made it Twitter-official just before 3 P.M. saying the deal was done, scooping the bow tie in a battle of the Kens. It wasn’t until a full five minutes later that we learned who all of the players in the deal were courtesy of Jon Heyman.
The trade provides the Red Sox with some salary relief to offset part of the David Price contract and helps to solidify their bullpen with the addition of Smith. Miley is due to make $6 million this season and $8.75 million in 2017 with a club option for $12 million in 2018. Smith and Elias are both pre-arbitration eligible, as is Aro.
Where the trade will make the biggest difference is in the bullpen. Last season, Smith appeared in 70 games and had a 2-5 record with 13 saves and 22 holds. 64.8% of balls in play were grounders, 18.2% were flies to the outfield and 17% were line drives. He has an excellent K/9 rate of 11.83 and batters only hit .192 against him.
The pen from the top down will likely be Kimbrel, Uehara, Tazawa, Robbie Ross Jr. and Smith. With Smith being a righty and Ross a lefty, manager John Farrell will be able to use them in late innings to match up against the opponents better hitters as the situation warrants. A luxury he didn’t have last year.
Elias joins a starting staff of David Price, Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, Eduardo Rodriguez and Henry Owens as the fourth lefty. His primary pitch is a 92 mph four seam fastball (42%). His secondary pitches are an 85 mph changeup (25%) and a 79 mph curve (22%). He’ll also throw the occasional 92 mph sinker (10%).
If things go according to plan, meaning no injuries and pitchers perform to expectations, Owens and Elias will probably start the season in Pawtucket ready to ride the shuttle when needed.