The BoSox Injection Social Media Mailbag is back once again my friends! This time around I asked Red Sox Nation about the bullpen and your voices have been heard. With that said, let’s get to the mail!
BoSox Injection Nation, spring training is less than a month away! We are so close to having our beloved Red Sox back on the field and ready to defend the crown. There’s just one problem. THEY STILL DON’T HAVE A CLOSER!! So, with the hysteria out of the way, I turned the question to you folks.
"We want to know if Kimbrel doesn’t return, who would YOU replace him with (free agent or on roster)."
A simple question and I was honestly expecting some different answers based on the comments I’ve seen on some of our bullpen-related articles. But I was shocked to see that a majority of the responses I saw over social media was for the same pitcher, Matt Barnes.
I recently wrote about Barnes being the key Red Sox replacement for Craig Kimbrel and was glad to see I wasn’t the only one thinking the same way. For me, Barnes is the key to the bullpen and I truly feel with the trust of Alex Cora, he can strive in 2019.
Matt Barnes has been in the Red Sox bullpen for several years though I will admit never hitting the potential that he carries. 2018 not only brought Barnes a World Series ring but also his best career years in ERA (3.65) and strikeouts (96). It was also his best year as far as K/BB ratio is concerned 96/31 (3.09 strikeouts for every walk) since he became a full-time pitcher.
"Michael Medeiros: BarnesChris Grover: I’ll try out to be the closer, but Barnes will be good"
I’d like to thank both Michael Medeiros and Chris Grover who both commented on Facebook with Barnes as their heir apparent to Kimbrel’s throne. I appreciate you both for taking the time and voicing your opinion in this month’s Mailbag!
The other responses I got in this issue were also from Facebook so that’s where we’re going to stay for the remainder. The next suggestion came from Jessy Coffey who went with a top free agent that is still on the market.
"Jessy Coffey: Ottavino"
This is definitely an interesting option that is still available on the market. Adam Ottavino was an early murmur in the Red Sox offseason rumor mill, and he still remains a target. Ottavino is coming off of a strong season with the Rockies (2.43/77.2/112/36) and is still waiting for the right deal. With the Red Sox in the absolute red as far as luxury tax is concerned, I don’t know if they can give Ottavino the deal he deserves.
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This is also the same reason I don’t see Kimbrel coming back. The Sox just don’t have the leeway with the budget especially with big name free agents in the near future. But Ottavino could absolutely add some serious fire to the Red Sox bullpen if he did come to Boston. Thank you to Jessy Coffey for your contribution to this month’s issue!
Finally, I received a submission from a loyal BoSox Injection Nation member, Phillip Baptist. Phillip suggested that the Red Sox look at someone that the networks haven’t been talking about, Cody Allen.
"Phillip Baptist: Cody Allen would be nice. He could take over and still has plenty left in the tank. He just had a bad year last year, and he wouldn’t cost much money."
Allen has been in the league for seven seasons, all with Cleveland, and is currently a free agent. Phillip is right, 2018 was a rough year for Allen. He finished with a line of 4.70 ERA/35 Runs/11 Home Runs. Now the positive to this past season for Allen is that he had an 80/33 K/BB ratio in the 67 innings he pitched. In his seven seasons, he’s a 2.98 ERA pitcher which is fine by me.
And like Phillip said the Red Sox can get him on the cheap. In his tenure with the Indians, he’s only amassed $23.6 M. FAR less than what Kimbrel is asking for by a mile. If the right deal can be struck, I wouldn’t mind adding Allen to the bullpen even if he just becomes a setup man. Thank you, Phillip Baptiste, I appreciate your input greatly!
Going into this offseason the Red Sox pitching staff was the big talking point when it came to free agency. Not only did they have players who were eligible but they also needed to do some shopping. Dave Dombrowski retained the services of several pitchers between new deals and by avoiding arbitration. But the glaring spot still shines on the closing position, with spring training right around the corner, will Boston solve the puzzle?