The Colorado Rockies brass has made it clear that they are comfortable with Rafael Betancourt as their closer and that Huston Street is on the trading block. It has been reportedthat the Red Sox are among a few teams that have already shown interest in trading for Street, but would he be a good fit in Boston?
The immediate answer is, “YES!” as the bullpen needs all the help it can get, especially with Jonathan Papelbon having left town. Street has a good track record of success; he has never had a season with and ERA, FIP or xFIP over four and he hasn’t had a K/BB rate under 4/1 since 2008. He may not be one of the game’s top relievers, but he’s consistently above average when healthy.
If the Sox were to acquire a closer, it would afford them the luxury of using Bard in the eighth inning role once again, with the option to use him earlier if the situation calls for it. Managers tend to not use their closers outside of save situations, which is not an optimal use of your “best reliever”, but it happens nonetheless. At least with the potential Bard/Street combo, Street would get all of the money making saves and save the Sox arbitration money with Bard down the road.
Street doesn’t come without some question marks, however. He’s a fly-ball pitcher that tends to give up about one home run per nine or more per season. He has also battled some some major and minor injuries over his career. Last season, however, he did throw 58.1 innings.
The question is less about whether Street is a good fit in Boston — he would be for any team in need of bullpen help — and more about what it will cost to get him. Kevin Youkilis for Street? I wouldn’t do it, even if Colorado was willing to add someone to the deal (assuming that extra player isn’t a big league regular or top prospect). Jed Lowrie? That makes some sense given the needs of each team, but a healthy Lowrie would be a valuable utility infielder at worst with the upside to be a fine regular should he be entrusted with an everyday job. The Sox will also need some depth in the infield and Lowrie provides that if they choose to non-tender Mike Aviles. I don’t see the Rockies looking for either Ryan Kalish or Josh Reddick given their current outfield depth.
According to the reports, the Rockies are targeting a low-end starting pitcher, something the Sox do not have a surplus of.
Street would be a welcomed addition to the Sox’ bullpen, but let’s hope the front office does not overvalue Street too much. He’s an above average reliever, one with ample experience closing out games, but he’s not a star.