After tonight’s game ended, the Red Sox acquired Rockies reliever Franklin Morales. According to the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham, the Rays made an effort to grab Morales themselves, but the effort came up short. You can read my take on the deal that happened on BPro’s Transaction Analysis blog, but Morales is a curious interest for the Rays.
As it stands, the Rays figure to have two left-handed relievers moving forward with J.P. Howell and Cesar Ramos. If they acquired Morales, you have to wonder if Brandon Gomes would have been demoted, thus giving Joe Maddon three left-handed options of whom he feels comfortable deploying throughout the game. Having that kind of depth is enviable in a division where the opponents are stacked to the gills with left-handed options (either authentic southpaws or switch-hitting poseurs).
It’s easy to read too much into this—i.e., the team doesn’t feel Jake McGee is either able to perform in the majors right now or heading forward—but it’s likely an instance of further stockpiling assets. Akin to when the Rays inquired on Yunel Escobar last season, albeit too late to rescue him from Toronto’s grasp. It does not hurt that it was Boston who stood to gain here—the same Boston that blocked Johnny Damon from reaching the Rays on waivers last August.
If nothing else, rest knowing Andrew Friedman isn’t getting complacent with the bullpen’s success. To date, they have overachieved on their peripherals, and while some of that should continue because of the park, defense, and optimal usage, there is a decent chance they will not have the same results throughout the end of the season. Getting Howell back is a good step forward. Getting Morales would have been one too.