FORT MYERS, Fla. — Maybe the Boston Red Sox found a loophole to bullpen building.

It’s the one position that new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was aggressive in pursuing during the offseason, though none of the new names were big. And none of them are coming off particularly good years.

Remarkably, three of them are left-handed, despite former Sox manager Alex Cora preferring not to carry lefty specialists, and despite MLB introducing new rules for 2020 that will require pitchers to face at least three batters or finish an inning before exiting a game.

The popular narrative is that the lefty specialist is a dead position in baseball.

The Red Sox don’t seem to share that mindset.

“It might phase a few people out, but let’s be honest, they’re still going to have lefty specialists,” said lefty Josh Osich, who was claimed off waivers by the White Sox last October. “If there are two outs and a lefty coming up, they can just bring the guy in and hope for the best. If he gets out, his day is done. That’s one hitter and they’re done.

“That’s what a lot of people don’t realize: they’re still going to do it, there’s just going to be more strategy involved in it.”

Osich will forever be tied to Bloom as Bloom’s first acquisition while running the Red Sox front office (Bloom was hired on Oct. 28 and Osich was claimed on Oct. 31). The Sox then released him in December, only to sign him two days later. The idea was to sign Osich to a contract that would allow split salaries whether he’s in the big leagues or the minor leagues. Osich has an option remaining and will almost certainly be used by the Sox at some point this year.

There’s reason to believe the 31-year-old could be a sneaky-good pickup.

Osich finished 2019 with a 4.66 ERA. And he looked like a reliever of the past, a lefty who held lefty batters to just a .551 OPS while righties crushed him with a .903 OPS.

But he averaged 95 mph on his fastball, putting him in the top-20 percent among big league lefties last year. And he added another off-speed pitch in late August, becoming dominant afterward.

In his last 16 1/3 innings from Aug. 29 through season’s end, Osich had a 2.20 ERA, struck out 20 with four walks and allowed hitters to bat just .197 with a .492 OPS.

Perhaps most importantly given the new rules, he faced more than one batter in 11 of the 13 appearances.

Osich believes he’s more than just a left-handed-one-out guy, also known as a LOOGY, a term that could soon disappear from baseball completely.

“There’s still going to be a place for them,” Osich said. “That lefty might not be able to only be a lefty specialist, but there will still be a guy that’ll run out and face a lefty in those situations.”

He could be right. Lefty batters are just as common in baseball as their righty counterparts in the modern game. Last year, the total at-bats by lefties and righties were nearly equal.

Of course, lefty hitters perform substantially worse against lefty pitchers than against righties, with their OPS dropping 50 points when facing southpaws. But righty relievers outnumbered lefty relievers by about 3 to 1.

So while the Sox of old weren’t particularly keen on carrying lefties, the new Sox look is much more open-minded.

The revamped bullpen should include lefties Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor, both of whom had strong rookie years in 2019.

Hernandez could get chances to close games, interim manager Ron Roenicke said. Taylor was a strong reliever in any role last year, though in seven of his 52 appearances he faced only one batter.

“I don’t have a problem with the new rule,” Taylor said. “I’d rather get three outs than one out anyways. There’s still the occasional time you come in at the end of an inning and get an out or two. I like coming in and getting a full inning for the team and handing it off to the next guy.”

In addition to Hernandez and Taylor, Osich deserves strong consideration for a bullpen spot, as do new lefties Matt Hall, acquired from the Tigers for Jhon Nunez, and Jeffrey Springs, acquired from the Rangers for Sam Travis.

Hall had a terrible year based on ERA (7.71) but his cutter had more movement than any left-hander in MLB last year, and his slider had the second-most.

Springs, too, had a bad year (6.40 ERA), but has above-average velocity for a lefty (93 mph) and generates above-average movement on his sinker.

Roenicke said he believes the rule change will force him to set his bullpen differently, but doesn’t think any of the Sox’s lefties will be affected.

“We’re fortunate that our left-handers are guys that get out anybody because of their stuff,” he said.

He’ll have plenty of options in 2020.

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