Timing is everything.
Less than 24 hours after the Red Sox acquired Arizona Diamondbacks closer Brad Ziegler, their own closer Craig Kimbrel was placed on the disabled list with a torn meniscus that will require surgery.
Evan Drellich of The Boston Herald broke the news which comes just as the Red Sox had appeared to have solved at least some of the depth problems that had plagued the bullpen since opening day.
The acquisition of Ziegler was supposed to relieve some of the late-inning pressure from aging Koji Uehara, and the increasingly ineffective Junichi Tazawa.
The role was supposed to be offseason addition Carson Smith’s, but an elbow injury that required season-ending tommy john surgery limited Smith to less than three innings of action this season.
Red Sox manager John Farrell told ESPN.com’s Scott Lauber that both Uehara and Ziegler will see save opportunities in Kimbrel’s absence.
The injury immediately brings the team’s search to add bullpen depth back to square one.
For the next three-to-six weeks, Ziegler will not be seen as a needed and welcome addition to the pen, but rather as an essential, but most likely slightly less dominant substitution for the injured Kimbrel.
All the same issues with depth and durability that plagued the Red Sox bullpen prior to adding Ziegler still exist. Odds are that the team’s search to find relief pitchers will amp up considerably between now and the end of July, when Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline arrives.
Dave Dombrowski has a well-earned reputation as an active midseason wheeler and dealer, Red Sox fans are about to find out just how active he can be.