Red Sox pick up reliever Fernando Abad from Twins for prospect

ByScott Lauber ESPN logo
Monday, August 1, 2016

SEATTLE -- While everyone focused on Sale, the Boston Red Sox beat the trade deadline Monday by making a deal that will be easy to sell.

The Red Sox bolstered their bullpen 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 that is comprised 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 inquired about the availability of Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale. 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.

Ultimately, though, the White Sox are holding out for an enormous return for Sale, a 27-year-old perennial Cy Young Award candidate with arguably the most club-friendly contract in baseball. 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.

Making a move to improve the bullpen isn't nearly as sexy for the Red Sox. It is, however, 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.

The Red Sox selected Light with the 37th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He was moved to the bullpen at the beginning of last season in order to help harness his control of his blazing 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.