Long-time Yankee swingman Ramiro Mendoza has signed a two-year contract with the division-rival Red Sox. This comes just a few days after Boston signed fellow pen men Chad Fox and Mike Timlin. The Red Sox bullpen appears set with Alan Embree (the only lefty) and Bobby Howry returning. Meanwhile the Yankees seem more concerned with acquiring every available starting pitcher in the western hemisphere while totally ignoring their already fragile bullpen.
The Red Sox have followed a plan to better themselves at their most problematic positions. Their bullpen did have an ERA .75 points higher than their starters. With the trade talks apparently stalling with Montreal over Bartolo Colon, the Sox may be trying to improve in other areas.
However, one may point to some chinks in their startegy. First, they have one one left-hander in the bullpen, something that may still be rectified. Second, they have no true closer in the bullpen. This may not be an oversite but rather may be by design.
However the final Red Sox product will actually perform on the field in 2003, it seems that their management is set to make their small upgrades continually, inexorably until they have the roster just the way they want it. Whether or not that will translate into victory remains to be seen, but it will be interesting to watch during this offseason and into the 2003 season.