We’re about a week into spring training games now and Boston Red Sox Manager Alex Cora has clearly said he isn’t worried about rushing to announce who will be his closer this season.
Although he isn’t quick to name his ninth-inning guy for 2019, Alex Cora has a pretty good idea of what he’s going to do. The Red Sox skipper doesn’t feel it’s something he needs to tell the media as of yet, considering they still have three weeks until opening day.
"“Like I’ve been saying all along, we have people that are going to get people out late in games,” Cora said. “We’ve just got to make sure everyone is healthy and ready to go for March 28. If that’s the case, we’ll go one way or another, but I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do.”-Alex Cora to redsox.com"
Right now, there are several candidates who are up for the job this season. Matt Barnes seems like the most logical choice to emerge as their closer, however, guys like Tyler Thornburg, Heath Hembree, and Brandon Workman are all in the mix.
More from Red Sox News
- Giants’ desperation post-Carlos Correa debacle highlights Red Sox’ lack of urgency
- Dave Dombrowski reunites with former Red Sox ace on Phillies
- 10 grievances against the Boston Red Sox in honor of Seinfeld holiday Festivus
- Red Sox risk repeating rookie mistake with Eric Hosmer release
- Former MLB All-Star slams Red Sox for ’embarrassing’ treatment of Rafael Devers
Barnes is a hard-throwing veteran righty who has the most experience late in games and excelled in the postseason for the Red Sox last year during their World Series run.
Ryan Brasier is another possible guy who could see some innings as Boston’s closer, but he has been limited this spring due to a toe injury. However, he should be back by opening day and will definitely be in the mix late in games.
Obviously, with Craig Kimbrel gone, it’s tough to fill that void because regardless of his shaky performances in the postseason last year, he is still one of the better closers in the game.
But with several guys who are all quality relievers, Cora is very confident he has the right mix of arms who can get the job done this season.
"“We know who [the candidates] are. We know the stuff. It’s just about the plan.”"
Personally, I think having several pitchers who all have the ability to close is a really good thing for Alex Cora and the Red Sox. Having an electric closer like Kimbrel last year was obviously great, however, they didn’t really have anyone else who could close out games. He had 42 saves, and the next closest to him was Joe Kelly with two. I think their situation this year is more beneficial.
Say Barnes is struggling to close out games, you have Thornburg or Brasier to close as well. Or if one of them is struggling, vice versa. None of them are Craig Kimbrel, but they all bring something beneficial to the Red Sox bullpen.
It will be very interesting to see who emerges as the main closer this season out of spring training. We may not know yet, but Alex Cora definitely has a solid grasp of how he’s going to handle things in ninth inning situations. And if we know anything about Cora, he tends to be playing chess while we’re all playing checkers. Right when you think you have the answer, he changes the question.