Fernando Abad: What to Expect Moving Forward

News came at the end of February that Fernando Abad would be competing for his home country in the World Baseball Classic. Abad will miss time with the Red Sox this spring training to pitch for the Dominican Republic. Fans around Red Sox Nation are wondering what this means for the 31 year-old left-hander, as well as the future of the team’s bullpen.

Fernando Abad is set to make $2,000,000 this Fernando Abadseason, but that money is not guaranteed. He was traded by the Minnesota Twins to the Sox in 2016 at the non-waiver trade deadline, and was immediately thrown into the fire by Sox manager John Farrell. In 18 appearances with the team, Abad was simply a-bad pitcher. In 12 and 2/3 innings, he recorded a 6.39 ERA and a WHIP of 1.66. The Red Sox kept Fernando Abad off of the ALDS roster.

Fernando Abad Moving Forward

The Dominican team has had the pleasure of using Abad during the tournament, but the Sox have decisions to make. Abad is a guy who is still trying to win a spot in the Boston bullpen. He was unable to prove his worth last year, and isn’t doing himself any favors choosing to participate in the WBC. This event is a huge deal in other countries, but for Abad, is it really worth not having a big-league job this season?

The Red Sox bullpen has vastly improved this off-season. We traded for a legitimate set-up man in Tyler Thornburg. Also, Carson Smith will be back from his Tommy-John surgery. Joe Kelly emerged as a go-to guy out of the pen in the playoffs last year. The Matt Barnes/Robbie Ross duo is a solid right/lefty combo that John Farrell can go to late in the game. Meanwhile, Craig Kimbrel is still as effective as Craig Kimbrel will ever be. Where does this leave Abad?

Fernando Abad can enjoy his time in the World Baseball Classic, as I am sure he will. There simply isn’t enough room for Abad in our bullpen as long as everyone stays healthy. After a dismal performance last year and poor decision-making now, he has most likely outlasted his stay in Boston.

Red Sox in the Dominican Republic?

dominican republic

Courtesy of Boston.com

The Red Sox have a facility in the Dominican Republic? How long have I been living under a rock? Why did I just learn about this?

The Red Sox academy in Santo Domingo, DR opened in 2003 to attract prospective players. The academy teaches prospective ball players English and how to acclimate to culture in the United States, while training them to be skilled players. There are fields, batting cages, a dormitory that accommodates 65 players, and a full fleet of professionals on hand to train.

The team plays as part of the Dominican Summer League against other MLB affiliated teams. All of the teams are filled with prospects from Latin American countries where baseball is king.

In 2003 the ballclub reportedly devoted $6 million to this facility, and its interest in Latin American players.

In 2004, thanks to a large donation, the Red Sox foundation launched the Lindos Suenos program, which pairs 10 high school age students from the United States with 10 Dominican Republic kids. They spend a week of mornings rebuilding homes and improving various communities in and around the Red Sox’s Dominican Academy.  The afternoons are spent playing baseball in full Red Sox regalia with the talented professionals at the Dominican Academy.

Dominican Republic

I love this combination of my two favorite things community service and baseball. I know this franchise gives back in many ways, but this program I found to be particularly touching. To learn more about the program go to http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/community/lindos_suenos.jsp