Could Matt Barnes Extension Help Red Sox Pursue Craig Kimbrel Trade?

Should the Red Sox go after Kimbrel?


Jul 12, 2021

Craig Kimbrel is all but certainly getting traded within the next few weeks, and any contender would be wise to bolster their bullpen however possible. That’s why a lot of people seem to think a Kimbrel reunion with the Boston Red Sox could be on the table.

And one of baseball’s premier insiders thinks a move the Red Sox made Sunday only will help a possible pursuit of the closer.

The Red Sox on agreed to a two-year contract extension with Matt Barnes, who was set to become a free agent this offseason. By doing that, ESPN’s Buster Olney thinks that the Red Sox just made life easier on themselves by getting that deal done.

“Boston’s signing of Matt Barnes sets up the Red Sox well politically to pursue Craig Kimbrel and build a powerful bullpen, if that’s the route they want to go,” Olney tweeted Monday morning. “Now Barnes knows that whatever role he has–closer, set-up man — he’s going to get paid the same the next two seasons.”

In essence, what Olney is getting at here is that because he’s already gotten his contract and, thus, security, Barnes wouldn’t be annoyed if he got bumped into the less prominent — and, frankly, lucrative — setup man role, with Kimbrel being the closer. Whether or not that would’ve been an issue without the contract is something we’ll never know, but Barnes is by all accounts a good teammate and team-first guy. It might’ve been a non-issue anyways.

It’s also worth mentioning that there have been no credible rumors that the Red Sox are actively pursuing Kimbrel. But as Olney alludes to, the fit seems to be there if Boston decides it wants to target him.

Boston’s bullpen has been among the best in baseball this season, and in the process Barnes has become one of the game’s elite closers. He has 19 saves with a 0.895 WHIP in 38 appearances this season.

Thumbnail photo via Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports Images
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