Boston Red Sox Acquire Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee Brewers

The Boston Red Sox continue to add to their bullpen, as they have acquired Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers for Travis Shaw and two prospects.

Over the past couple of years, the Boston Red Sox have made their bullpen a priority. General Manager Dave Dombrowski made trades to acquire Craig Kimbrel and Carson Smith, looking to give the Red Sox bullpen depth that would be envied by any other team. However, with Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa set to depart via free agency, that depth is no longer there.

Dobrowski addressed that concern with a trade earlier this morning. The Red Sox are set to acquire Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for third baseman Travis Shaw, and prospects Josh Pennington and Mauricio Dubon.

In Thornburg, the Red Sox get another high octane arm who has some closing experience. Last season, he posted a 2.15 ERA and a 0.940 WHiP, recording 13 saves. Relying primarily on a mid 90’s fastball and a solid curve, Thornburg struck out 90 batters in 67 innings, issuing only 25 walks. Eligible for arbitration for the first time, he gives the Red Sox a controllable piece for the bullpen.

The Brewers, meanwhile, pick up a few interesting pieces. Shaw had unseated Pablo Sandoval as the Red Sox third baseman last season, and produced decent numbers. He had a .242/.306/.421 batting line, hitting 16 home runs and 34 doubles. However, he struggled against lefties, with a .187/.235/.364 batting line and only eleven extra base hits in 115 plate appearances.

While Shaw could provide some stability for the Brewers at third, the true prizes come in the prospects. Dubon had become one of the Red Sox top prospects on the strength of his .323/.379/.461 batting line with 30 steals across two levels. A contact hitter with excellent speed, Dubon struck out only 61 times in 486 at bats. With experience at second and short, he should be an interesting option in a year or so for Milwaukee.

Pennington, while currently a starter, could end up being a relief option for the Brewers down the line. While he has an excellent fastball, his secondary pitches are lagging behind. If those show improvement, he may remain as a starter, where he has shown some promise. Last year, pitching for the Lowell Spinners, Pennington posted a 5-3 record with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.165 WHiP, striking out 49 batters in 56.2 innings.

The Boston Red Sox were searching for bullpen depth, and they have gotten exactly what they needed in Tyler Thornburg. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers received a controllable third baseman and two intriguing prospects. This is a deal that should help both sides.

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