The Boston Red Sox placed a concerning amount of confidence in a pair of underperforming right-handed relievers this offseason, spearheaded by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom.
Those two hurlers were Ryan Brasier and Kaleb Ort. All offseason, surprise cuts occurred while these two stayed on the 40-man roster. Players such as Matt Barnes, Eric Hosmer, Darwinson Hernandez and Connor Seabold were released over the likes of Brasier and Ort.
While Brasier has looked okay so far — nothing special but nothing alarming — Ort has looked as bad as his biggest haters projected this spring training.
The 31-year-old has posted an 11.81 ERA with four strikeouts, four walks and a .393 batting average against in 5 1/3 innings pitched this spring.
Ort already has allowed four home runs in five games. He’s also allowed 16 of 32 batters faced to reach base.
Now, Grapefruit League performances are far from indicative of regular season play but Ort has no pedigree to stand on.
Last season, Ort posted a 6.35 ERA with a 27-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio and .302 batting average against in 28 1/3 innings during his rookie campaign.
The right-hander touched 100 mph once last season and sits in the upper 90s with his fastball. Outside of that, nobody can seem to figure out what the Red Sox see in him. That ability alone would hold more value if he was 21 years old not 31.
It’s a little late for him to harness his fireball to become a high-leverage option — or even a serviceable major-league player.
The Red Sox have some intriguing young options to fill out the back of the bullpen, such as right-handers Zack Kelly and Wyatt Mills. For Boston’s sake, it would make sense to give either of these two the Opening Day nod over Ort.
Bloom to his credit, did completely revamp the bullpen for the better. However, his attachment to Ort and Brasier has created a disconnect between the front office and the fans. For once, I think the fans actually have the better argument versus the people who make baseball rosters for a living.