CINCINNATI -- The Boston Red Sox acquired Cincinnati Reds closer Scott Williamson on Tuesday for a minor league pitcher, another player and cash.
The trade bolsters the Red Sox bullpen as the team tries to overtake the New York Yankees in the AL East. Williamson, the NL Rookie of the Year in 1999, had converted 21 of 26 save opportunities.
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said Williamson has a fastball in the mid- to high-90s, along with a good slider and split-finger fastball.
"He's got three well-above-average pitches, and it's really a potent combination coming out of the bullpen," Epstein said.
Williamson will be used as a setup man for closer Byung-Hyun Kim, acquired in a May 29 trade with Arizona.
"We're extraordinarily happy with the job that Byung-Hyun Kim has done as a closer," Epstein said.
Kim made five starts for the Red Sox before manager Grady Little shifted him to closer in late June, but Epstein said the possibility of Kim returning to the rotation and Williamson becoming the closer is "remote."
It was the Reds' first trade since they fired general manager Jim Bowden on Monday, leaving it to his aides to come up with deals.
"We've been talking to the Reds on and off for a week or two," Epstein said. "Once they made their move in the front office, things really accelerated. ... We got down to business very quickly."
Williamson was the most attractive Reds player available in a trade. He avoided arbitration in the offseason by agreeing to a $1.6 million, one-year deal.
The Reds got left-hander Phillip Dumatrait, a player to be named later and an undisclosed amount of cash. Dumatrait, 22, was 7-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 21 games at Class A Sarasota. But he was not considered one of Boston's front-line prospects, Epstein said.
Boston is still looking to acquire another starter before Thursday's deadline for trades without waivers.
"A great opportunity came along, and we feel that we made our team a lot better," Epstein said. "We're not done."
I wouldn't drop him just for the sake of doing it, but if there's another solid closing option available, you might want to jump on it.
Didn't you say in another post that you wanted to pickup Cordero? he might be worth dropping Williamson for.
"One of the teams represents truth, justice, the American way, and underdogs everywhere. The other represents George Steinbrenner!" - U.S. News and World Reports columnist John Leo on the difference between the Mets and the Yankees.
Transmogrifier wrote:Great post... I saw an earlier article. Thanks.
Now is it safe to drop Williamson? What do you say, Cafe experts?
I'd wait until the trade deadline. If the Red Sox do NOT land another starter then my prediction is that Williamson will close and Kim will start. If the Sox DO land a starter, then I think Williamson will be a set up man, therefore worthless. I'd wait for further news about it.
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I would hold Williamson for the time being. Nothing GM's or managers ever say should be taken as gospel. At the very least, I expect Williamson to grab the odd two inning save and I would agree there's a slim chance Kim goes into the rotation.
Esptein has just shot down all of that and said there is no way Kim becomes a starter again this year. From RotoWorld:
Scott Williamson - R - Boston Red Sox Jul 29
Scott Williamson will be used as a setup man, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein said tonight.
There goes most of Williamson's fantasy value, although he should still help in ERA and strikeouts. The Red Sox also said tonight that the PTBN in tonight's deal was a player in Single-A, which is rather surprising. If true, the Reds would have to get Hanley Ramirez to make this look like a good trade for them. The better bet is that the PTBN is Jerome Gamble, the right-hander the Reds selected in the Rule 5 draft but later returned to Boston.
Byung-Hyun Kim - R - Boston Red Sox Jul 29
GM Theo Epstein said tonight that Byung-Hyun Kim will remain Boston's closer and Scott Williamson will be used as a setup man.
We'd rather see Kim back in the rotation, assuming the team doesn't acquire a starter, but Epstein said there's no way that's going to happen this year. On paper at least, it now appears that the Red Sox have one of the best bullpens in baseball.