The Red Sox obtaining Matt Albers marks the beginning of their bullpen makeover.
If you meander on over to Baseball-Reference.com to look at Matt Albers stats, there's nothing there that'll wow you about his game. He looks like an average reliever at best, who throws a lot of innings, and strikes out more batters than he walks. However, you do have to take into consideration he was pitching for the Baltimore Orioles last year, who were God awful, and he also had to play about 60 games against the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays - no easy task since those were the top three run scoring Teams in the Majors with 869 (Yanks), 818 (Sox), and 802 (Rays). Even the Blue Jays were pushing runners across the plate, as they had the ninth highest run total in the Majors at 755. So Albers numbers may be a little inflated there, and that's probably one of many reasons Cliff Lee decided to go to the Phillies as the AL East does not make love to pitcher's stats, they destroy them. However, I'm sure Bill James and the rest of the Red Sox geek staff of stat hounds know how to properly judge a pitchers performance based on their division. Lets hope so at least, because the Red Sox bullpen was atrocious last year.
Aside from the grotesque amount of injuries the Red Sox had to endure last season, which had me dubbing them the Zombie Red Sox, the other reason Fenway Park was empty in October was our ugly bullpen. Again, acquiring Matt Albers isn't going to make anyone plan for a parade, but it is the official start of the rebuilding process for the much maligned bullpen. The Sox ranked 23rd in bullpen ERA last year with a 4.24 average, and our Save% was also 23rd at 67% - both not encouraging stats. They again ranked near the bottom in opponent OPS (.743), this time in 24th place, and the statistics go that route all the way down the line. When using the old eye ball test last year, basically if your last name wasn't Bard, you made Red Sox fans nervous, including, and maybe especially Papelbon. I still think it'll be interesting to see how the back end of our rotation works out with the Sox making that offer to Rivera, however - it's really the middle relief that we have to be worried about, and I'm hoping while this move wasn't necessarily a home run, maybe it's a base-hit.