The Astros provided one example of stocking a bullpen, and now the Red Sox provide another. The Sox picked up Boof Bonser, who was to be designated for assignment, for some cash or a PTNL. Bonser will be cheap and under team control for a number of years (he has three years of service time), and could be as good as Brandon Lyon out of the pen.
Bonser has a FIP of 4.60, compared to Lyon’s 4.23, but most of Bonser’s innings were as a starter. Adjust for the bullpen bonus and he should be better than Lyon. Of course, Bonser is coming off rotator cuff surgery. Maybe he will not pitch the whole year or come back at full strength. Still, he could also come back strong and pitch like he did out of the pen for the Twins in 2008, when he had an xFIP of 3.39 with 55 Ks to 16 BBs over 52 innings. He also has value as a spot-starter. It fits into the new school of bullpen construction: throw a lot of pitchers with potential upside but some question marks at a wall and one or two are bound to stick.
Anyway, picking up Bonser is a perfect counter example of player acquisition to the Astros overpayment for a middling reliever who posted a low ERA built on low BABIP luck.
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