When the Red Sox signed Dave Dombrowski to be their President of Baseball Operations last season, there was a clear shift in philosophy over on Yawkey Way. No longer would the Red Sox stockpile prospects in Pawtucket, Portland and Lowell, but rather trade at positions of depth for proven MLB talent. This philosophy was seen quickly when the Red Sox traded for right handed fireballer Craig Kimbrel. While Kimbrel has been shaky at times this season, there is little doubt if he will register a save when coming into the ninth inning with a lead.
Unfortunately, aside from Craig Kimbrel and perhaps recently acquired submariner Brad Ziegler, the Red Sox' bullpen is shoddy, at best. Manager John Farrell has relied heavily on Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara in past seasons, but can no longer do so in 2016. Uehara was sidelined on July 20 with a right pectoral strain, but it appears that he is recovering more quickly that any within the Red Sox organization anticipated. However, I do not think that I am the only one that does not want to see him pitching in a Red Sox uniform again, especially if it is in October with this manager at the helm. Similarly, Tazawa has been sidelined with various injuries and general fatigue from a heavy workload in the past. Both relievers will be free agents after this season, and I would be extremely surprised if we see them with the team in 2017.
Similarly, the aforementioned Brad Ziegler will be a free agent after the 2016 season and has already voiced his willingness to return to the Arizona Diamondbacks to finish out his career. While the Red Sox will retain Robbie Ross Jr. (2019), Matt Barnes (2022), Heath Hembree (2022), and Fernando Abad (2018), these are not the types of arms that will help the team contend for a World Series in 2017 and beyond.
Fortunately for the Red Sox, there are a few players that are slated to hit free agency that could play a pivotal role if they were to sign in Boston. Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon are some of the top free agents that could compliment Craig Kimbrel and the hopefully healthy Carson Smith. Additionally, with a plethora of money coming off the books (David Ortiz, Koji Uehara, etc.), the Red Sox could throw $10+ million per at a top-tier 8th inning guy.
If the Red Sox do not want to dish out a ton of money to one of the previously mentioned names, Sergio Romo, Joaquin Benoit and Francisco Rodriguez could be a veteran arm that could still provide an impact to this team.
With no glaring need(s) on this team this offseason aside from perhaps a #2 starter and/or a designated hitter, look for the Red Sox to make multiple small moves to help this team contend for years to come.