The Boston Red Sox acquired relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday in exchange for a package headlined by third baseman Travis Shaw. 

The Brewers officially announced the trade, which also includes shortstop Mauricio Dubon and starting pitcher Josh Pennington joining the Milwaukee organization.

Shaw posted a message on social media about the deal:

Thornburg enjoyed a breakout 2016 campaign for the Brewers. The 28-year-old right-hander posted a 2.15 ERA and 0.94 WHIP with 90 strikeouts in 67 innings. He also racked up 20 holds and 13 saves while pitching in high-leverage situations late in games.

The Red Sox already feature one of the best closers in baseball, Craig Kimbrel. The newest addition will likely serve in a setup role alongside lefty Robbie Ross Jr., who accumulated a 1.69 ERA after the All-Star break last season and is especially tough on lefties (.545 OPS).

In addition, the trade appears to suggest Boston is comfortable entering the 2017 season with Pablo Sandoval as its starting third baseman. He struggled mightily after signing a monster contract in 2015 and missed almost all of last season with a shoulder injury.

He owns a clear path to the starting job with Shaw out of the picture, though. The 26-year-old Kent State product had previously beat him out at the hot corner last spring.

Now Shaw will take over at third for Milwaukee. The slugger started the 2016 season strong with seven home runs over the first two months, but he faded from there. He finished the year with a lackluster .306 on-base percentage with 16 homers.

Dubon and Pennington are both future assets. ranked Dubon, 22, as the No. 12 prospect in the Boston organization before the trade. Pennington, 21, owns a 2.29 ERA through 20 appearances (19 starts) in the lower levels of the minor leagues.

Ultimately, the Red Sox are betting Sandoval can enjoy a bounce-back season after a forgettable first two years in Boston. If his struggles continue, then the focus will shift to seeing whether highly touted prospect Yoan Moncada is ready for prime time.

As long as either Sandoval or Moncada provides consistent production, it’s a nice deal for the AL East contenders to pick up a reliable late-inning reliever. Meanwhile, Milwaukee fills a void at third and picks up a few promising pieces for the future in the process.


Read more MLB news on