The Red Sox made a steal when they traded for Carson Smith from the Mariners this offseason. Smith posted a 2.31 ERA in 70 innings last season and struck out a whopping 92 batters. He found himself saving games during the year for the Mariners in the 2015 season but comes to the Red Sox as the seventh inning guy behind Koji Uehara and closer Craig Kimbrel.
Smith gives the Red Sox something they lacked in 2015: a reliable bridge to a shut down closer. When Uehara was healthy last year, he was a lock down closer, but getting to him proved to be a problem. The overuse of Junichi Tazawa finally wore him down and Robbie Ross, Tommy Layne, Craig Breslow and the rest of the misfit toys all struggled throughout the year. Smith brings his flame throwing arm to turn a nine inning game into a six inning game. With questions still in the Red Sox rotation, he will prove a valuable commodity.
Adding Smith to the bullpen helps the Red Sox tout a potentially unfair bullpen. While the rest of the AL East has also put together good, if not great, bullpens, the Red Sox might have the deepest, and they can thank Smith for that. Smith pushes Robbie Ross and Junichi Tazawa down a level, which gives John Farrell five options to shut down the opposing team.
While Carson Smith will not rack up saves or get the notoriety he will deserve for the job he does this upcoming season, he might be the glue that holds everyone in place. If Carson Smith produces like he is capable of, the Red Sox will be able to turn around their ship and look to make a playoff push.
By Dan Cantone