BOSTON (CBS) – At the beginning of the season, the Boston Red Sox‘ bullpen was viewed as a strong-point on the team.
Now, injuries have left Boston shorthanded in their pen and searching for arms to fill the void.
On Monday, manager John Farrell revealed that lefty Andrew Miller will need surgery and is likely done for the season — leaving Craig Breslow the lone lefty in the Boston bullpen.
So, GM Ben Cherington has some work to do. He said Monday he would like to explore all options internally before delving into the trade market — which will get pricey leading up to the July 31 deadline.
“You lose a guy, he has to be replaced somehow. We still think we have some internal options to consider and we might look at those over the course of the next few weeks. We have to have an opened mind,” Cherington said from Seattle.
There are options in Pawtucket, but none of them would really give the immediate impact that Boston is looking for. Miller was solid not just against lefties, but also against righties, and Cherington said given Boston’s need, he can’t get too caught up in matchup pitchers.
“I don’t know if its as important that he’s left-right, we just need good pitchers,” he said.
Some options down on the farm include lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith — a 30-year-old Australian with four years of MLB service under his belt. He’s had a solid season in Pawtucket, allowing just 27 hits and five earned runs in 43.2 innings pitched, but is currently on the DL after an emergency appendectomy and won’t be available until later this month, according to Cherington.
The Sox have also had discussions about converting starters to relievers in Triple-A, with Ruby De La Rosa and Brandon Workman two of the players discussed, but both are right-handers and neither have big league experience.
“We cant rule it out,” Cherington said of converting a started to a reliever. “We have a lot of good arms in Pawtucket and we think some of them can help us up here. We have a lot of good arms up here too, so we’ll see where it goes.”
Of course there is always the trade market, which could end up costing Boston a pretty penny given their current need. They were rumored to be interested in Matt Thornton and his 17 holds for the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, and that interest should ramp up now that Miller is likely lost for the rest of the way.
“The most efficient way to do it would be to ignore [the market] completely.” Cherington said, “but then you run the risk of not having enough guys out there. We have to strike the right balance in the middle.”
“I do think it lends to the point that if you can find solutions internally, that’s always the better way to go,” said Cherington. “We’ve had guys step up all year when the opportunity presents itself, we just need that to continue.”