Having seen what a strong bullpen can do in the postseason this past October, Red Sox boss Dave Dombrowski landed right-handed reliever Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.
Thornburg, who is expected to be the Sox’ eighth inning man, was acquired in exchange for third baseman Travis Shaw, infield prospect Mauricio Dubon and pitching prospect Josh Pennington.
Thornburg registered 13 saves, owned a 2.15 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP this past season with the Brewers. The 28-year-old went 8-5 on the season in 67 appearances.
The dealing of Shaw is interesting in that the Sox now seem to be ready to hand the third base reigns back to Pablo Sandoval. Shaw had his moments in 2016, but wound up hitting .242 with 16 homers and 71 RBIs. Sandoval, who was criticized for showing up to spring training overweight, appeared to be in fine physical shape late in the season. It was rumored that he would be able to participate in the Sox’ brief postseason appearance but that never transpired. Sandoval had just six at-bats in the 2016 regular season as he underwent shoulder surgery in May.