SEATTLE -- The Boston Red Sox bolstered their bullpen ahead of Monday's trade deadline by acquiring left-hander Fernando Abad from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for hard-throwing Triple-A reliever Pat Light.
Abad, 30, figures to balance out a group of late-inning relievers composed of right-handed setup men Junichi Tazawa and Brad Ziegler and closer Craig Kimbrel, who could be reinstated from the disabled list in time for Monday night's series opener here against the Seattle Mariners.
In the days and hours leading up to the deadline, the Red Sox have also inquired about the availability of Chris Sale, the Chicago White Sox ace. The White Sox scouted the Red Sox's fertile farm system last week, and it appears the teams match up well for a potential blockbuster.
The White Sox are holding out for a significant return for Sale, a 27-year-old perennial Cy Young Award candidate with arguably the most club-friendly contract in baseball. His contract will pay him $12 million next year and includes team options for 2018 and 2019 that are worth $12.5 million and $13.5 million, respectively. Any deal for Sale would have to include multiple Red Sox prospects, including either Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada or center fielder Andrew Benintendi, and possibly both, according to multiple major league sources.
Making a move to improve the bullpen isn't nearly as exciting for the Red Sox as a trade for Sale would be, but it is necessary, especially with 41-year-old setup man Koji Uehara sidelined indefinitely by a strained right pectoral muscle. The Red Sox have not put a timetable on his return, but both manager John Farrell and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski have insinuated that Uehara won't pitch until September, if he comes back at all.
Abad has a 2.65 ERA with 29 strikeouts and 14 walks in 34 innings for the Twins. But he has been lethal to left-handed hitters, holding them to a .163 average (8-for-49) with 10 strikeouts and two walks. Didi Gregorius is the only left-handed hitter to take Abad deep this season.
Abad is making $1.25 million this season and is eligible for salary arbitration. He can't become a free agent until after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox selected Light with the 37th pick in the 2012 draft. He was moved to the bullpen at the beginning of last season to help harness his control of his fastball. But he has struggled with his command, walking 17 batters in 31 innings for Triple-A Pawtucket. In two appearances in the big leagues, Light allowed seven earned runs on seven hits, including two home runs, for a 23.63 ERA.