So, like, who’s gonna close for the Boston Red Sox next season?
There’s a chance that Boston re-signs Craig Kimbrel, but let’s be real: The 30-year-old wants a record-setting deal for a closer, and it’s hard to imagine the Red Sox giving that to him. At this point, fans probably should expect to see someone other than Kimbrel taking the mound to finish games in 2019.
Now, the Red Sox reportedly are in on some big-time free agent relievers, including David Robertson, Zach Britton and Adam Ottavino, among others. But if the Red Sox are unwilling to throw loads of cash at an admittedly fickle position, then they could look inward for ninth-inning solution.
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski addressed the Kimbrel situation during Monday’s news conference to reintroduce Nathan Eovaldi.
“We’ll see about the financial aspect of (signing Kimbrel),” Dombrowski said at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. “Our payroll is significant at this point, so we’ll see what takes place.
“But if we don’t make any outside acquisitions, we do feel that we have some internal choices with guys like Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes – a couple of guys that we feel can step forward.”
A year ago, Red Sox fans likely would’ve laughed at the notion of Barnes closing games. And as for Brasier, most seamheads didn’t even know who he was before September.
But both enjoyed breakouts during the 2018 playoffs, and both proved capable of potentially handling more significant roles next season.
In 10 postseason appearances, Barnes went 2-0 with three holds and a 1.04 ERA over 8 2/3 innings. Brasier, meanwhile, also posted a 1.04 ERA over 8 2/3 innings in Boston’s run to a World Series championship.
Thumbnail photo via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images