The Red Sox leader in saves isn’t on the roster yet
I’ve been very adamant in my criticism of Matt Barnes. Even when he was dominating his way to an All-Star berth last summer, I still believed that he wasn’t a viable closer for a contending team. Barnes has shown time and time again that he is nothing more than a middling reliever. He might be eerily consistent, as evident by his six straight years with an ERA between 3.50 and 4.50, but he walks too many batters and allows too much hard contact to be trusted in the ninth inning.
Despite a brutal end to the season that saw him bounced from the playoff roster and a spring training in which his velocity was around three miles per hour slower than its 2021 peak, Barnes will still enter the season as the team’s closer. It will not last. The Red Sox are serious about contending this year, and any team with championship aspirations can’t have Matt Barnes closing games.
The question then becomes who will replace Barnes as the team’s closer. Hansel Robles has closing experience, but he also walks too many hitters and allows too many home runs. Garrett Whitlock was the team’s de facto closer come October, but he seems set for a multi-inning role. That’s why I believe the Red Sox will go out and get a closer from a rebuilding team like Alex Colome, Lou Trivino, or Mark Melancon, and acquire them early enough to lead the team in saves.