Maybe the addition of Addison Reed does not overwhelm Boston Red Sox fans.

You look at the New York Yankees adding two starters, including Sonny Gray; along with two relievers and a third baseman earlier, and you wonder if the Red Sox can keep up.

Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski jokingly called the Yankees the Golden State Warriors of baseball – which is the same reference Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman used for Boston in the offseason, when the Red Sox traded for Chris Sale.

What the Red Sox really needed at the trade deadline was a power hitter, but Dombrowski told the media in Boston that “we didn’t feel there were any impact bats to make us better.”

You never know with the power guys. The Yankees got White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, a guy Boston wanted. In 11 games, Frazier is hitting .212/.669 with one home run.

The Red Sox traded for infielder Eduardo Nunez and promoted third baseman Rafael Devers last week. They both have two homers.


But why add Reed to a Red Sox bullpen that ranked second in the American League in both ERA and WHIP (walks/hits per inning)?

One word: Reliability.

While other teams were improving, notably the Yankees’ pitching staff, Boston was fading. That Boston bullpen, which had only six blown saves in the first three months, had six more in July alone.

A 5-3 loss to the Royals on Sunday may have been the convincer to trade three minor league pitchers for Reed.

With the Red Sox up 3-1 in the eighth, Matt Barnes allowed four straight baserunners – one by error, then three singles. With the score 3-3, Robby Scott relieved and gave up a two-run triple.

The loss was eerily similar to a 6-4 defeat in Kansas City June 21 – Boston lead 4-2 in the eighth before Barnes walked two and then Scott allowed a walk and a grand slam.


Other losses in July had Barnes and Heath Hembree giving up leadoff walks that eventually scored, or Hembree and Joe Kelly allowing critical home runs.

Boston’s offense is struggling enough. To cough up leads late in the game is not something this team can overcome.

Therefore, Reed will join the Red Sox on Tuesday. Reed, 28, has converted 19 of 21 save opportunities. He has a 2.57 ERA and 1.12 WHIP – which now ranks third among Sox relievers, behind closer Craig Kimbrel (1.24/0.60) and Kelly (1.49/1.10).

Kelly has been good, but used sparingly, going back-to-back days only twice. He’s been out since July 9 with a sore hamstring, but is scheduled for a rehab appearance in Pawtucket on Wednesday.

Kelly, with his 100 mph fastball, is effective. Reliable?

Barnes showcases swing-and-miss stuff with 57 strikeouts in 50 innings. But he also has walked 22. Reliable?


Hembree shows more control (52 strikeouts/11 walks in 481/3 innings), but he gets hit (.286 opponents’ average; .349 by left-handers). Reliable?

“That one guy who will pitch the eighth just has not been there on a consistent basis,” Dombrowski told reporters in Boston.

Enter Reed. He has a 92 mph fastball, an 85 mph slider – and he throws strikes (48 strikeouts and only six walks in 49 innings). Right-handers are hitting .250 against him, and lefties only a little better (.263).


With Reed and Kimbrel at the back end, Red Sox Manager John Farrell can match up more in the earlier innings. One right-hander who is emerging is Brandon Workman, finally back to form after Tommy John surgery in 2015. In July, Workman has a 1.69 ERA/0.84 WHIP and 10/2 strikeout/walk rate.

Reed is a rental: He is a free agent after the season, so Boston did not give up any impact prospects.


All three were minor leaguers were 22-year-old, right-handed relievers. The best of the bunch was Jamie Callahan, who nearly made the major league team out of spring training (in a four-way battle won by Ben Taylor). Callahan was briefly assigned to Portland, where he shined for 10 games (1.38/0.62) before going to Pawtucket. He struggled in Triple-A (4.03/1.41) but had a 2.89 ERA for July. He also had 36 strikeouts in 29 innings.

A second-round draft pick out of high school in 2012, Callahan is a competitor with a fastball/split combination. He was expendable with Boston’s depth with right-handed relievers – Taylor, Austin Maddox (just called back up to Boston), Kyle Martin and Chandler Shepherd in Pawtucket, and Ty Buttrey in Portland.

The other two pitchers both come from advanced Class A Salem – Stephen Nogosek (4.08/1.42) and Gerson Bautista (5.16/1.81). Nogosek was a sixth-round draft pick out of Oregon in 2016. Bautista was an international free agent from the Dominican Republic.

While the trade deadline passed, players can still be obtained in August – but they must pass through waivers. Plus, Boston could take a chance on a couple of its sluggers in the minors. Bryce Brentz is hitting .278/.882 with 21 home runs in Pawtucket. Jeremy Barfield is hitting .305/.967 with 18 home runs in 61 games with Portland. He just broke a franchise record with 12 homers in July.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

Twitter: ClearThe Bases

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