Just minutes ago, according to multiple reports including Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Boston Red Sox have finally struck a deal. In an effort to fix the ailing Boston bullpen, the Red Sox have sent RHP Josh Pennington, SS Mauricio Dubon, and 3B Travis Shaw to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for righty reliever Tyler Thornburg.
Thornburg really came into his own last season, pitching in 67 innings to amass a 2.15 ERA and 90 strikeouts. With so much uncertainty surrounding Boston's bullpen, this deal does not come as much of a surprise. Red Sox relievers Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara are set to become free agents and there has been no indication that Boston is interested in re-signing them. Furthermore, Carson Smith will not be ready to start the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery early last season after being acquired by the Red Sox in a deal with Seattle for Wade Miley.
In return for Thornburg, Milwaukee will be getting a borderline everyday third baseman and a very young pitching prospect, as well as a wildcard short stop. First, lets start with Pennington. The 20-year-old right hander is ranked 23rd in the Red Sox' prospect pool and pitched in the Gulf Coast League for the Red Sox in 2015, later being assigned to the Lowell Spinners in June of 2016. In two minor league seasons, Pennington is 7-4 with a 2.29 ERA in 20 games (19 starts). Dubon is a 22-year-old shortstop that has really come on as of late, batting .339 in 62 games for the Portalnd Sea Dogs. Unfortunatly for Dubon, it does not look like he would have ever been given the opportunity to play with the big league team because of Xander Bogaerts.
Now comes the piece that Red Sox fans may be a bit more familiar with. Travis Shaw has had some very good stretches with the Red Sox, but he has not been able to put it all together and become a legitimate major leaguer at the hot corner. In 2016, Shaw hit .242 with 16 home runs and 71 RBI, but also struck out 133 times in 480 at-bats. It looks as if the Red Sox have put more faith in Pablo Sandoval, and the Mayor of Ding Dong City era is officially over.
While this is an awful lot to give up for a reliever, Thornburg is a fantastic pitcher and the Red Sox did not really have to give up any big name guys to get him. Now, with the subtraction of Travis Shaw, it looks as if Pablo Sandoval will start at third base, with Brock Holt backing him up. At first base, Hanley Ramirez appears to be starting, with Sam Travis backing him up.
Just saying, but there is still some room for a DH....