Let's say the Sox keep playing well and don't suffer any major injuries. And by "well", I don't mean they keep playing .700+ ball. I just mean, you know, 90+ win pace from this point on, over the next month. If they do that, they'll be right in the thick of the playoff picture.
Eovaldi, Sale, and Paxton, all return to bolster the starting rotation. Whitlock and Taylor come back to boost the bullpen. Who in the world are they going to put where? Yes, I get that these things tend to sort themselves out. But just as an exercise, how would it look?
Rotation: Sale, Eovaldi, Pivetta, Paxton, Wacha
Bullpen: Taylor, Houck, Whitlock, Strahm, Diekman, Schreiber, Davis, and...?? Has to be another RHP. This list already has four lefties. Hill probably would be out, unless he'd be a better fit than Diekman or Davis. For a RHP, their options internally would be Robles, Brasier, Winckowski, Barnes, Danish, and Sawamura.
Robles: 4.91 era, 1.32 whip, 7.0 k/9
Brasier: 4.28 era, 1.13 whip, 8.6 k/9
Winckowski: 3.60 era, 1.45 whip, 5.9 k/9
Barnes: 7.94 era, 1.71 whip, 7.4 k/9 (man, what the heck happened to Matt Barnes? goodness)
Danish: 3.86 era, 0.97 whip, 7.4 k/9
Sawamura: 2.96 era, 1.11 whip, 6.7 k/9
Honestly, a rather uninspiring group. I love Houck, Whitlock, and Schreiber from the right side - that's three excellent arms. They'd need that fourth guy. Maybe in the rotation they go with Hill and move Wacha to the pen? Hmmmmm. Possible.
But I think it highlights the need for one more really good RHP. Sawamura is fine as a guy to eat up regular season innings, but I know that none of us is comfortable in a big spot in the playoffs or down the stretch with him out there. Brasier? Meh. Barnes? Nope. Danish? Ehhhhh....they should be able to do a LOT better than that. Robles? Has the stuff but I don't have confidence in him. Winckowski? Maybe his stuff plays up in the pen, but I don't know.
So I'd love to see them swing a deal, even a small one for a rental, for a quality RHP out of the bullpen. Doesn't have to be a stud, because this group of 8 relievers should be really good as a group, and having both Houck and Whitlock in the bullpen really strengthens it considerably. But I do think they need one more quality RHP.
I'm sure some of it, though, will come down to 40-man roster stuff and what options players have because I doubt Chaim just wants to lose guys for nothing if he can help it.