The Boston Red Sox will have a number of decisions to make this offseason as they prepare to defend their World Series title in 2019.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has said he would like to bring all of Boston’s free agents back into the fold, but knows that isn’t exactly realistic. The Red Sox already re-signed 2018 World Series MVP Steve Pearce, but still will have decisions to make about Craig Kimbrel, Joe Kelly, Nathan Eovaldi, Drew Pomeranz and Ian Kinsler.
It seems unlikely that Kimbrel will return to Boston, as the All-Star closer is expected to receive a lucrative contract. Kelly, likewise, will be in high demand this offseason, but the right-hander has stated his desire to finish his career with the Red Sox.
With the Major League Baseball hot stove about to start heating up, ESPN’s Dave Schoenfield pinpointed each team’s biggest priority and he believes the Red Sox will need to focus on the area that will be thin if Kimbrel and/or Kelly leave: the back end of the bullpen.
Closer Craig Kimbrel and postseason hero Joe Kelly are both free agents. Kimbrel’s October issues — eight walks and seven runs in 10â innings — might generate some hesitancy to give him a Wade Davis-like contract (three years, $52 million), while Kelly’s outstanding playoff will ramp up his value.
Schoenfield later points out the number of bullpen options that will be available on the free-agent market this offseason, noting Boston would rather bring back Eovaldi than pay Kimbrel and could look to sign Andrew Miller, Zach Britton, David Roberton and Jeurys Familia to help fill Kimbrel and Kelly’s role should either or both leave.
Boston’s bullpen was much-maligned all season, but Kelly, Kimbrel, Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier delivered in October, and the Red Sox will need to acquire at least two late-game arms to restock what could become a depleted bullpen.