Several former Red Sox are on the market as free agents this offseason. Could any of them be in store for a Boston reunion? Perhaps its former closer?

Craig Kimbrel has played for four teams since leaving Boston after winning the World Series in 2018. After stints with the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, the 35-year-old posted a 3.26 ERA with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2023, who came up one game shy of a second-straight National League pennant.

Kimbrel is one of the most dominant closers the game has seen. He also has some flaws and constantly works in and out of jams. Does pursuing the former champion make sense for the Red Sox?

With Philadelphia in 2023, Kimbrel was solid in a capable bullpen, going 8-6 with a 3.26 ERA in 69 innings while striking out 12.3 batters per nine innings. Even when he struggles or works into trouble, Kimbrel has found ways to escape jams and still has the ability to rack up strikeouts as he ages.

Story continues below advertisement

Despite pitching into his mid-30s, the reliever’s electric stuff still plays at a high level. Relying on a fastball-curveball combination, Kimbrel continues to overpower hitters.

The Boston bullpen is already a strength when rested and may not be the largest priority for the team this offseason. With that being said, adding Kimbrel into a late-game rotation with Josh Winckowski, John Schreiber, Chris Martin and Kenley Jansen would help keep the group of talented relievers fresh more consistently.

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

Kimbrel ranks No. 8 all-time with 417 saves, one spot behind the current Red Sox closer in Jansen (420). Assuming Jansen would remain as Boston’s closer, adding an all-time great back-end reliever still adds intrigue for the Red Sox.

Kimbrel completely hit a wall during the postseason and was in the middle of a pair of key losses to the Arizona Diamondbacks. In Games 3 and 4 of the NLCS, Kimbrel got tagged for a loss and a blown save, allowing four runs over an inning of work between the two contests. For his career, the reliever has a 4.50 ERA while walking six batters per nine innings. For a team that works to return to October, Kimbrel’s postseason resume requires a closer look.

Story continues below advertisement

His age may also be a factor in consideration, though Chris Martin was Boston’s best reliever last year in his age-37 season.

For a bullpen that values consistent strike throwing, Kimbrel has not had a season with under three walks per nine innings since 2017.

The walks are cause for concern and the bullpen is not a major need for Boston.

At the same time, adding a strikeout specialist to keep other key relievers fresh is an intriguing possibility.

Story continues below advertisement

Ultimately, a short-term, cheap deal with Kimbrel could be beneficial for the Red Sox.

Featured image via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images