Red Sox bullpen gets stronger with Williamson

By Josh Boyd

July 29, 2003

Just a day after general manager Jim Bowden was fired, the Reds dealt one of four pitchers that ownership had demanded Bowden move before Thursday’s deadline for trades without waivers. Cincinnati sent Scott Williamson to the Red Sox on Tuesday for high Class A lefthander Phil Dumatrait, a player to be named later and $1 million.

Baseball America correspondent Jayson Stark ( has reported that the other pitchers on the Reds’ trading block are Danny Graves, Scott Sullivan and Gabe White.

Williamson, a 27-year-old righthander, joins a revamped Red Sox bullpen after notching 21 saves as the Reds’ closer. It’s unclear what role Williamson will fill for the Red Sox, who also have added late-inning relievers Byung-Hyun Kim and Scott Sauerbeck in the last two months. But Williamson, the 1999 National League rookie of the year, certainly will be a key component in Boston’s bullpen mix. Recovered from Tommy John surgery that cost him most of 2001, he has a mid-90s fastball and uses a sharp slider as his go-to pitch. He has gone 4-3, 3.27 in 42 games this year, including a 53-25 strikeout-walk ratio and .214 opponent average in 42 innings. Williamson has a career mark of 25-22, 2.93 with 54 saves in 217 games. Arbitration-eligible after the season, he’s making $1.6 million with a possible $400,000 in incentives.

Dumatrait, 22, was a first-round pick out of Bakersfield (Calif.) JC in 2000. His curveball is his best pitch, and he has a solid average fastball that can touch the low 90s, but his command has slipped this year. He was 7-5, 3.02 in 21 games (20 starts), with a 74-59 K-BB ratio and .204 opponent average in 104 innings.

Aug. 6 update: Baseball America’s Red Sox correspondent, John Tomase, reports that the player to be named will be lefthander Tyler Pelland, Boston’s ninth-round pick in the 2002 draft. Pelland can’t be traded until one year after the date of his signing, which was Aug. 17, 2002. He would have gone in the first five rounds if not for his strong commitment to Clemson, and he signed for $240,000, easily the highest bonus in his round. Pelland is making his pro debut this year, and has gone 2-3, 1.65 in nine games (seven starts) for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Red Sox. He has a 31-16 K-BB ratio in 33 innings, while opponents have hit just .200 with no homers against him. He’ll need plenty of time to develop but has a very good arm for a 19-year-old lefty. Pelland throws in the low 90s, and also uses a curveball and changeup.