The Red Sox’s bullpen perhaps was among the most vital pieces to Boston’s run to a World Series title in 2018.
But heading into spring training, this season’s bullpen is surrounded with tons questions over who will fill what role. But mainly one: who will the closer be?
The ninth inning remains up for grabs, and it seems the Sox are keen on rolling with a player already on their roster rather than sign a big-name free agent (like, say, last year’s closer Craig Kimbrel, who remains a free agent.)
For now, Matt Barnes, Ryan Braiser, Heath Hembree and other big-league camp invitees will jockey for late-inning roles for the defending champs.
And one person that seems more than okay with that is Red Sox manager Alex Cora.
Appearing on MLB Network Sirius XM radio Wednesday, the Sox skipper said he likes the talent the team currently has.
“We know the player,” Cora said when asked about Kimbrel. “But we know where we’re at right now. And honestly, coming into today, that is something that I have tried to preach to the guys. We have the talent here for us to do the things that we want to do.
“We’ll figure out through spring training, where on March 28th, everybody will know what the plan is and we have to focus on the people that are here.”
The manager went on to say he feels comfortable going forward with the likes of Barnes, Braiser and Hembree, and is excited about some of the arms the Sox having coming to camp.
So it seems that Red Sox fans will have to wait another month to find out exactly who will be locking down the late innings, but at least it will provide something to keep a close eye on throughout spring training.
Thumbnail photo via Jonathan Dyer/USA TODAY Sports Images