ith spring training quickly approaching, the Red Sox are still looking to improve their pitching staff. One option in the free agent market is Jakob Junis. The Red Sox have shown interest in the veteran right-hander, according to MassLive’s Chris Cotillo.
Although Junis is not one of the top free agents, he is coming off a successful year with the Giants. During the 2023 campaign, he appeared in 40 games and posted a career-low 3.87 ERA. The Arizona native also struck out 96 batters and only walked 21.
While those numbers may not jump off the page, Junis had his most successful season with Andrew Bailey as his pitching coach. If he were to end up in Boston, he would again have Bailey to lean on. That would be huge for a player who, until last year, had never posted an ERA below 4.30.
Additionally, Junis has family ties to the Red Sox organization. His Brother, Noah, was recently hired by the Red Sox and will be the Worcester Red Sox bullpen coach during the 2024 campaign.
What Junis Brings to the Red Sox
As teams around the league look to add depth, Junis is an appealing option. During the 2023 campaign, he ended the first month of the season with a 6.06. He then took his game to another level by posting a 3.36 ERA in his final 33 appearances. His success was partly due to his four-pitch mix.
The 31-year-old possesses a slider and sinker to go with his four-seam fastball. Junis also keeps batters off balance with his changeup, but last season, he relied on his slider. During his second season with the Giants, he turned to his slider 62.5 of the time, according to Baseball Savant.
In Junis, the Red Sox would also be adding a player who can play various roles. During his MLB career, the 2011 draftee has made 110 starts. However, during the 2023 campaign, he worked primarily out of the bullpen, where he is at his best.
How Junis Would fit Into the Red Sox bullpen
While the Red Sox’s rotation appears to be set on paper, the bullpen is still up for debate. They could need a bulk arm if Josh Winckowski is turned into a starter. They also have experimented the last few years with using Garret Whitlock as a starter.
If the Red Sox were to sign Junis, he would likely not command a big deal. MLB Trade Rumors predicted he would land a two-year, $15 million deal in free agency. With the Red Sox shying away from free agents from big free agents, Junis could fit into their budget.
Although the Red Sox have been connected to Junis, they are not the only team interested in his services. The Phillies have also shown interest, according to Scott Lauder of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
While no deal is reportedly imminent, the Red Sox would be a good fit for Junis as he looks to build on his success from last year. Being able to play for the same pitching coach that helped him find success in the majors is a tempting aspect.
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