Boston Red Sox Should Move Ryan Dempster to the Bullpen

Jonathan CullenSenior Writer IJuly 31, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 27:  Ryan Dempster #46 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 27, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox have addressed their biggest need by acquiring starter Jake Peavy, as first reported by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The Peavy move allows the Red Sox to focus on their other critical need as the MLB trade deadline approaches, which is adding to their bullpen.

While Brandon Workman might be viewed as the most likely candidate to move to the pen, the Red Sox have another internal option if they really want to solidify the bullpen, an option who has 87 career saves to his credit and can likely handle the late-season pressure better than an untested rookie.

If the Red Sox move Ryan Dempster into a late-inning role, he could finish this season as a setup man and as the main support to Koji Uehara. The 38-year-old Uehara has been excellent since taking over as the Red Sox closer, but given the durability concerns about him, having another experienced option at the end of games can only help the Red Sox this season.

By making the move now, it would give the 36-year-old Dempster two months to adjust to the new role for the rest of the regular season. Dempster has three seasons of experience closing while pitching for the Chicago Cubs. With a shot at the postseason, Dempster is unlikely to balk at the move at this point of his career.

In fairness to Dempster, he has pitched to some tough luck this season in compiling a 6-8 record in his first season with the Red Sox. But looking at the Red Sox rotation objectively, he should be the odd man out at this moment because everyone else is pitching better.

With Peavy added to Jon Lester and John Lackey, it gives the Red Sox three solid top-of-the-rotation starters. Felix Doubront has overcome his early-season struggles to become much more consistent as the team’s fourth starter. Prospect Workman has impressed in his short time with the big club.

If the Red Sox eventually get Clay Buchholz back at some point this season, he would obviously slot into the top of the rotation and push another arm into the pen, making the Boston bullpen even deeper as it moves toward a chance at the postseason.

By potentially adding Doubront and Dempster to a bullpen that already features Uehara, Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow, it would give Red Sox manager John Farrell plenty of options at the end of games matching up against other lineups.

The other benefit to moving Dempster now is that it would allow the Red Sox to hold on to all of their prospects by adding to the bullpen internally instead of overpaying for another bullpen arm.

The Red Sox continue to look like a team that has been built for the long haul this season.

Information used from Jon Heyman/CBS Sports, Baseball Reference