ANAHEIM -- With four days left before the trading deadline, a look at Theo Epstein’s track record as Red Sox general manager underscores the likelihood that the Sox will add relief help, either now or during the August waiver period.
Epstein has been Sox GM through seven previous summer trading seasons, and in only one, 2008, he did not attempt to strengthen his bullpen. Even as an Sox assistant GM to Mike Port in 2002, Epstein’s fingerprints were all over the trading-deadline deal that brought left-hander Alan Embree from the Padres, Epstein’s former employer.
Here’s the year-by-year breakdown:
-- Signed Todd Jones after he’d been released by the Rockies.
-- Acquired right-hander Scott Williamson from the Reds.
Epstein already had made a trade on May 29 that altered the course of the team’s history. He not only acquired a closer, Byung-Hyun Kim, but unloaded Shea Hillenbrand, opening up playing time for a part-timer named David Ortiz.
And four days later, Epstein used a fourth-round draft pick to select Jonathan Papelbon.
-- Signed right-hander Curtis Leskanic after he’d been released by the Royals.
-- Acquired left-hander Mike Myers in a waiver deal from the Mariners.
The previous winter, Epstein had signed free-agent closer Keith Foulke, without whom the Sox would not have won the World Series, his incredible workload against the Yankees in the ALCS one of the signature achievements of the postseason.
-- Acquired submarining right-hander Chad Bradford from the Athletics.
-- Acquired left-hander Mike Remlinger in a waiver deal from the Cubs.
That was also the summer the Sox drafted a reliever in the first round, Craig Hansen, and promoted him to the big leagues just a couple months later. That didn’t work out real well.
-- Acquired left-hander Javier Lopez from the White Sox in mid-June.
-- Acquired right-hander Bryan Corey from the Rangers.
-- Acquired Billy Wagner from the Mets in a waiver deal. He’d be just the kind of lefty the Sox would like to have now, but Wagner was bent on closing again, and signed with Atlanta, where he has enjoyed a renaissance. All was not lost, however, as the Sox received a first-round pick and sandwich pick as compensation, which they used to draft infielder Kolbrin Vitek and outfielder Bryce Brentz, both playing at Lowell now.
Epstein picked up some useful pieces over the years, and others that made a negligible impact. But invariably, he gets someone. That should be no different this year.