Time to run it back?
The Red Sox had seven players from their 40-man roster hit free agency after winning the 2018 World Series and all have expressed interest in returning to Boston, according to president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.
This obviously doesn’t mean Boston will re-sign each of its free agents — Craig Kimbrel, Nathan Eovaldi, Joe Kelly, Steve Pearce, Ian Kinsler, Drew Pomeranz and Brandon Phillips — but Dombrowski’s update Tuesday at the Major League Baseball GM Meetings speaks to the open communication that seemingly exists between the organization and those players who just hit the open market.
“We have an abundance of free agents,” Dombrowski said, per MassLive.com. “We have seven, so they’re in different categories. Some of the guys that we’d like to re-sign, they know that. But they’re also free agents. We’ll continue staying in contact with them and see what happens. They know we’re interested, but they also want to find out what the market is. All of them have expressed a desire to come back, but only time will tell.”
Of course, the chances of the Red Sox bringing back all of their free agents is very slim, especially given Boston’s other financial obligations and the looming free agencies of franchise cornerstones like Chris Sale (2020), Rick Porcello (2020), Xander Bogaerts (2020), Mookie Betts (2021) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (2021). But that doesn’t mean there won’t be some level of mutual interest, and Dombrowski expects most of the current free agents to give Boston a chance to match any offer before signing elsewhere.
“I think they all will stay in contact with us,” Dombrowski said Tuesday, according to MassLive.com. “I think most of them will do that, but if somebody says here’s an offer that blows you away and you sign it right now or not, they’ll probably sign it.”
Kimbrel and Eovaldi are especially intriguing given the former’s track record as a dominant big league closer and the latter’s postseason performance/upside. Each is positioned to land a lucrative contract.
Kelly also is an interesting case despite an inconsistent 2018 season, as he really stepped up in October. And Pearce, who earned World Series MVP honors, fit like a glove in Boston upon coming over in a July trade with the Toronto Blue Jays and might be a candidate to return if the price is right.
It’s hard to imagine Pomeranz, Kinsler and/or Phillips returning, although the Red Sox could use a veteran second baseman for 2019 depending on the health of Dustin Pedroia.
Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images
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