Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox did more than hold a Rafael Devers press conference on Wednesday, as Chaim Bloom & Co. stayed busy by way of a trade with the division rival Baltimore Orioles.

Given the rarity of in-division trades for the Red Sox (and the American League East as a whole, really), it’s no shock that this isn’t one that’s going to create a massive shift in the division, as the team sent reliever Darwinzon Hernandez to the Orioles in exchange for cash considerations.

  • Jul 17, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Darwinzon Hernandez (63) delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

    Jul 17, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Darwinzon Hernandez (63) delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

  • It’s a move that the Red Sox should have been happy to make, all things consider as the 2022 season was the lefty’s bottoming out, with 14 hits and 16 earned runs in just 6.2 innings of work for Boston. Hernandez also posted an unfathomably bad 21.60 ERA, with opponents hitting .424 off the Venezuelan-born reliever.

    It was a frustrating and largely unexpected drop off a cliff for Hernandez, who had a respectable 2021 campaign for the Sox, with 12 holds and 54 strikeouts over 40 innings of work. Hernandez was also strong in an extremely limited 2020 sample, with a career-best 2.16 ERA and opponents hitting just .161 in 8.1 innings of work.

    Signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent in 2013, Hernandez has spent his entire MLB career with the Sox, with a 3-4 record, 16 holds, 5.06 ERA, and 133 strikeouts in 85.1 innings of work over 91 games.

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 15: Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom addresses the departure of Alex Cora as manager of the Boston Red Sox during a press conference at Fenway Park on January 15, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. A MLB investigation concluded that Cora was involved in the Houston Astros sign stealing operation in 2017 while he was the bench coach. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JANUARY 15: Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom addresses the departure of Alex Cora as manager of the Boston Red Sox during a press conference at Fenway Park. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • The departure of Hernandez leaves the Red Sox with four lefty relievers currently on their 40-man roster.

    The top arm among that group is free agent addition Joely Rodriguez.

    Signed to a one-year deal (but with a club option for 2024), the 31-year-old Rodriguez comes to the Red Sox after a 2021 season with the Mets, and after establishing career-highs in strikeouts (57), innings (50.1), and appearances (55) during his one-year excursion in Queens. Beyond the career-best workload and strikeouts, Rodriguez also posted a line that included a 2-4 record, 4.47 ERA, and a batting average against of .226.

    Not exactly utilized as what you would consider a high-leverage reliever for the Mets, the Red Sox must have liked his finish to the year, with three runs allowed on six hits to go with 14 strikeouts and a 0.75 WHIP over 12 appearances from September through the end of the regular season.

    Behind Rodriguez, Josh Taylor appears to be the other lefty lock in Boston’s bullpen.

    But Taylor himself is a question mark after back issues kept him out of the entire 2022 season.

    The 6-foot-5 Taylor was a notable weapon for the club in 2021, though, with 15 holds and a and a 3.40 ERA in 47.2 innings of work over 61 appearances. Overall, Taylor has compiled a 4-3 record with 20 holds and a 3.69 ERA in 102.1 innings of work over his Boston career.

  • Sep 30, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Joely Rodriguez (30) reacts after rolling his sleeves up against the Atlanta Braves in the eighth inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports

    Sep 30, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Joely Rodriguez (30) reacts after rolling his sleeves up against the Atlanta Braves in the eighth inning at Truist Park. (Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Beyond the lefties, the Red Sox are expected to have a stronger bullpen in 2023 with the aforementioned addition of Rodriguez, along with veteran reliever Chris Martin and closer Kenley Jansen.

    Pitchers and catchers are expected to report to Fort Myers in just over one month.