Around this time last offseason, Boston Red Sox GM Ben Cherington was a bit under the gun from Red Sox Nation to make some serious moves after the nightmare season of 2012. Some people were hoping that Cherington might sign a player such as Josh Hamilton in order to send a huge message right away. Instead, the very first player that was signed was David Ross, a backup catcher.
People scoffed, but Cherington knew exactly what he was doing. He knew what kind of player and person Ross was, and that he would be exactly what Boston needed and fit into the big picture of what the Red Sox should be like in 2013. Of course, Ross was a huge part of the championship run that the Red Sox had and he even ended up being the starting catcher towards the end of the World Series.
Let’s now look at 2013 and Cherington’s first move of this offseason. He recently acquired Burke Badenhop from the Milwaukee Brewers and again, some people questioned why Cherington would do this and not lock down some of the free agents that Boston is interested in.
However, Cherington is a man with a plan. He knows that the bullpen was a huge question mark for most of the regular season and it seemed like it took until around August or September for John Farrell to have a group at the end of the game that he could trust giving the ball to. Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara were his top three relievers that were counted on heavily.
In the World Series, though, you could tell that all three of those pitchers were running on empty and if the series had gone on one more game, you wonder if any of those pitchers would have been available. Bullpen depth is a huge need for Boston and Cherington got a very good reliever.
Badenhop struck out 42 batters and walked 12 while posting a 3.47 earned run average. He has also been very dependable and consistent. You can never have enough pitching, and that is especially true in the bullpen. Cherington is probably going to stockpile as many quality arms as he can to provide depth.
As a Red Sox fan who just got to see a third World Series win in my lifetime after being convinced in 2003 that I would never see one, I am completely on board to what Cherington is doing. In Ben we trust.