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MLB Winter Meetings: Red Sox Reportedly Interested In Brian Fuentes

The Red Sox have shown interest in former Angels closer and left-handed pitcher Brian Fuentes, and have met with his agents at MLB’s Winter Meetings according to a report from Scott Lauber.

Fuentes, 35, has seen a significant drop in his numbers since signing with the Angels after the 2008 season. His 3.93 ERA in 2009 marked a career low. He improved in 2010, though, and ended the season with 10 shutout innings for the Twins.

While Fuentes isn’t what he used to be, he’s still been remarkably good against left handers, holding them to an OPS under .500 over the last three seasons.

The move has received some support at SB Nation’s Over The Monster, where Wolf9309 points out that Fuentes might be a more cost-effective option than fellow top-target Scott Downs, both in terms of contract and draft picks:

While a great pitcher, Downs is also 34 and, from all reports, is going to be looking at a 3-year contract. Theo is well known to dislike giving out long-term contracts to relievers, and with good reason; they, more than any other position, vary drastically from year to year. In addition to this, there seems to be a decent chance Downs would decline over the course of this contract. In addition to this, Downs is a type A free agent, meaning that the team that signs him will have to surrender their first round draft pick to the Blue Jays.

Fuentes, meanwhile, was not offered arbitration, meaning that he will not cost anything in draft picks to the signing team. It’s important here to take note that this is the last year of the draft as it currently stands- in future years, it is highly unlikely that wealthy teams will be able to flex their financial muscle as effectively as they have in the past.

While Fuentes does not provide quite the same overall effectiveness out of the pen as Scott Downs, if the Sox are most interested in finding a pure counter to lefties to supplement Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon, he might be the perfect solution.