The Red Sox should focus on Zach Britton as the closer
With Craig Kimbrel’s next home still a question mark and the reliever dominoes falling daily, the Red Sox should turn their sights to Zach Britton to be their new closer.
The market for relief pitchers has been one of the most interesting aspects to this year’s free agency period. WIth big names going up and coming off the board in mass, options are beginning to dry up. The Red Sox seem to be keeping tabs on Craig Kimbrel while also throwing feelers out to the other pitchers that are available.
With Kimbrel still asking for a King’s Ransom of a contract, teams aren’t biting on the powerful righty. This has opened the market up for other pitchers to get signed ahead of him. In recent weeks big names like Andrew Miller and Joe Kelly have been taken off the board. And yesterday it was reported that David Robertson was signing with Philadelphia.
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The Red Sox had reportedly been keeping tabs on Miller and Robertson but missed out on both. They also gave a homer offer to Kelly knowing his desire to stay in Boston but were instantly outbid by the Dodgers. So with an ailing bullpen and no closer, the Red Sox need to make their move. The big names other than Kimbrel still on the market are Adam Ottavino and Zach Britton.
I agree with them not backing up the Brinks truck to Kimbrel’s house just yet. If anything that should be a last-ditch desperation move. With not much chatter about Ottavino lately, I think Dave Dombrowski should target Zach Britton. It’s being said Britton may be leaning towards staying with the Yankees but could be swayed if he can become a closer.
With nobody currently at the position, that’s something that the Red Sox can easily offer. Britton is also familiar with the intensity of big market media and the expectations of a fan base like that of the Red Sox. Britton has also spent his entire career in the AL East, so moving to Boston won’t be unfamiliar to him.
He split his time between Baltimore and New York in 2018 amassing a 2-0 record with a 3.10 ERA and 34/21 K/BB ratio over 40.2 innings. The ERA isn’t awful and he did add in 7 saves as well. I am a bit worried about the closeness of the strikeout to walk ratio but that can be worked on with mechanics. WIth Sandy Leon behind the plate, Britton could easily see improvements in all metrics.
Another reason why I think Britton may be a solid choice for the Red Sox is his cost. Considering we’ve already been penalized for throwing our money around and could easily find ourselves in the next bracket of punishment, Britton can be gotten for cheap. In 2018 he saw his games down significantly from his prime where he was mid to upper 60’s. He also his K/BB ratio weaker than it has been in years.
So with a decline in key metrics and a desire to be the closer, I feel the Red Sox could be the right place for him to get his mojo back. He can get regular work as the Boston closer and work daily with Leon and Vazquez behind the plate. So between the pair of strong catchers and a squad that would get behind him, I can see his confidence skyrocket.
With spring training right around the corner and no closer to come out of the bullpen, the Red Sox need to figure something out and fast. With free agent pitchers coming off the board what seems like every day, time is running out. Zach Britton could be the right piece for the bullpen puzzle to aid the Red Sox in another championship campaign. If I’m Dave Dombrowski, I’m getting Britton on the phone right away.