The waters were much calmer once president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski descended upon Las Vegas, though, as the biggest development from a Red Sox standpoint was the departure of reliever Joe Kelly, who agreed to a three-year, $25 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Of course, it’s quite possible Dombrowski laid the groundwork for future moves while at the winter meetings. After all, closer Craig Kimbrel remains a free agent, and Rick Porcello, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts all were mentioned in trade rumors. There’s also a chance the Red Sox could explore locking up Chris Sale, who, like Porcello and Bogaerts, is set to hit free agency next offseason.
So, what should the Red Sox do coming out of the winter meetings?
ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle offered a suggestion in a piece published Thursday about what each MLB team needs to address moving forward for 2019.
In his section about the Red Sox, Doolittle provided this quote from Boston manager Alex Cora at the winter meetings: “With the guys that we have right now, I’m good with it.”
Here’s what Doolittle then wrote:
The move: Cora was speaking about his bullpen, a couple of days before Joe Kelly signed with the Dodgers. It’s probable Cora made that statement knowing that Kelly’s return to Boston was unlikely. The Red Sox’s roster is pretty complete, yet some additional bullpen arms couldn’t hurt, especially if closer Craig Kimbrel finds his riches elsewhere. If Boston is looking to moderate its spending in this area, a couple of bounce-back candidates who might be good values are Hunter Strickland and Greg Holland. A lefty such as Tony Sipp or Luis Avilan couldn’t hurt, either.
It’s hard to argue with Doolittle’s assessment. Boston’s World Series-winning roster remains mostly intact, giving the Red Sox a legitimate chance to repeat as champions in 2019. But the bullpen certainly could use reinforcements, especially if Kimbrel joins Kelly in leaving town.