With free agency hitting it’s stride, the Red Sox have jumped into action by adding some much needed arms to the bullpen. After making a depth signing of L Matt Strahm to a 1-year deal on Sunday morning (according to Robert Murray of FanSided), Chaim Bloom made a bigger splash by signing one of the top arms on the market, L Jake Diekman, to a multi-year deal (reported by Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com). The 35-year old had a solid 2021 season, appearing in 67 games and finishing with a 3.86 ERA and 83 Ks. He was absolutely electric in 2020, finishing the shortened season with a 0.42 ERA and 31 Ks in 21.1 innings. He is consistently a big strikeout reliever, which should be music to Red Sox fans’ ears. It feels like it’s been a while since the Red Sox had a K-heavy lefty reliever who can hopefully pitch in late-game, high-leverage situations.
While nothing is guaranteed, it’s nice to see Bloom jump into the top of the reliever market and not just shop in the bargain bin. You can never have too many bullpen arms and to bring in a player who could potentially be a consistent late-game guy with high strikeout numbers is significant. If the Red Sox decide to keep Garrett Whitlock in the reliever role, the compliment of lefty Diekman and rightly Whitlock will really help in late-game matchup situations. While Diekman does not have a ton of experience as a closer per se, he ended last year with 7 saves and could be additional insurance in that role if Matt Barnes were to falter or land on the IL.
Diekman isn’t a slam dunk reliever (which are extremely rare), but he’s definitely one of the best available in free agency. If I were Bloom, I’d keep shopping for more arms, because, I’ll say it again, you can never have too many relievers.
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