The Boston Red Sox still have a loaded roster in 2019, but they are foolish to wait on Craig Kimbrel’s market to make bullpen addition.
One of the greatest Boston Red Sox teams ever graced baseball with its presence last season, but it’s time to look ahead to 2019.
This offseason the club has done little to nothing aside from resigning postseason hero Steve Pearce. As of now, the current need is to add one or more relief options in free agency. The theme that has been most of the offseason that any move in that area will have to wait on Craig Kimbrel, since he is the top prize on the market. The feeling was that Kimbrel wouldn’t be back in Boston anyway and would rather cash in on free agency.
As the top closer, he’s reportedly seeking to be the highest paid reliever ever and wants almost $100 million. That huge asking price will make a lot of suitors stay away. So with that, other teams are seeing if his asking price will go down closer to the spring. That’s bad news for the Red Sox if they are waiting him out. Boston’s theory with waiting is that they will get the reliver they want at the price that works for them.
The Red Sox should pounce now instead of waiting the market in order to secure the top relievers. They are clearly not bringing Kimbrel back, so just move on entirely and don’t care about when he signs. Yes, they did wait out the market for slugger J.D. Martinez last offseason and got him for their price. But there are several good relievers out there, and Martinez was the best hitter left on the market.
Pitchers like Adam Ottavino, David Robertson, and Zach Britton should be considered at the moment. We know that the first two mentioned are on their list. If the team misses out on those guys, there are plenty of third tier pitchers to choose from. For example Kelvin Herrera, Brad Brach, and even lefty Justin Wilson. It would be in the Red Sox best interest to strike now while the market is still than wait on how many chairs are left after Kimbrel.
The club let Joe Kelly walk to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a 3-year/$24 million deal. They even were interested in Joakim Soria, but decided to sit on their hands. The bullpen is the team’s largest weakness, other than their poor hitting catching tandem. If Boston wants to rightfully defend their title, they need to patch up their bullpen. They should do that sooner rather than later.