The relief market got even thinner Monday, leaving the Boston Red Sox with one less free agency option as they build their bullpen for the 2019 season.
Kelvin Herrera has agreed to a two-year, $18 million contract with the Chicago White Sox, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal reportedly includes a vesting third-year option, as well.
Herrera was considered a potential fit for the Red Sox, who could use bullpen help, especially given Joe Kelly’s departure and the uncertainty surrounding Craig Kimbrel’s future. Kimbrel remains a free agent and still could re-sign with Boston, but Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said last month the team wasn’t looking to make a big expenditure for an elite closer. Kimbrel was believed to be seeking a nine-figure contract at one point this offseason.
Herrera, 29, spent his first seven-plus seasons with the Kansas City Royals before being traded to the Washington Nationals in June. The right-hander earned All-Star nods in 2015 and 2016.
Herrera was excellent to begin the 2018 season, posting a 1.05 ERA and 0.82 WHIP in 27 appearances with the Royals. But he struggled upon joining the Nationals, posting a 4.34 ERA and 1.71 WHIP in 21 appearances with Washington before suffering a season-ending foot injury in late August.
The Red Sox’s relief options just keep dwindling, perhaps suggesting a reunion with Kimbrel isn’t far-fetched. Zach Britton (New York Yankees), David Robertson (Philadelphia Phillies), Andrew Miller (St. Louis Cardinals), Jeurys Familia (New York Mets), Joakim Soria (Oakland Athletics) and Kelly (Los Angeles Dodgers) are among the free agent relievers who already landed new deals this offseason.