BOSTON (CBS) — It’s been three years since Dave Dombrowski cashed in on some highly touted Red Sox prospects and brought a flamethrower closer to Boston.
It sounds like he may be gearing up to do the same this offseason.
Boston may soon be looking for a replacement for All Star closer Craig Kimbrel, for whom Dombrowski surrendered a trio of prospects to San Diego for during the 2015 offseason. Kimbrel is available to any team that wants to give him a boatload of cash, and Dombrowski may not want to pay a 30+-year-old closer upwards of $20 million a season for the next four years.
So he may just pull a repeat of 2015 and land the best closer available via trade: 2018 MLB saves leader Edwin Diaz. The only issue is he likely won’t have the prospects to get the deal done this time around.
The Seattle Mariners are having a fire sale this offseason, and according to the New York Post, the Red Sox are one of five teams “expressing the strongest interest” in Diaz. Boston is joined by the New York Mets and Yankees, Atlanta Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies as teams eager to add the 24-year-old, who would be under team control for four more years.
But what would it cost the Red Sox to get a guy who just posted a 1.96 ERA and punched out 124 batters in just 73.1 innings in 2018? A lot, either in prospects or in added salary.
At the moment, Boston’s cupboard of prospects is a little bare. They have infielders Michael Chavis, Bobby Dalbec and Triston Casas and lefty pitcher Jay Groome, but a deal for Diaz would likely require a Kimbrel-like package that will leave the Boston farm system even more parched for talent.
That might be OK, though, as the Mariners would love to have a team take on Robinson Cano and his massive contract. But the 36-year-old second baseman carries a $120-million price tag over the next five years, and with Dustin Pedroia coming back from a lost season in 2018, chances are Dombrowski would be a “no” on the Cano front.
So while it’s nice to dream of a 24-year-old fireballer coming in to shut down the ninth inning for Boston, don’t get your hopes up. Chances are Kimbrel will take a big payday elsewhere and the Red Sox will replace him with an in-house option like Ryan Brasier or Matt Barnes (potentially even Joe Kelly, who is also a free agent), or scour the rest of the free agent market for someone like Andrew Miller, Kelvin Herrera or Zach Britton.
But at least the hot stove is starting to heat up a bit with the World Series champs.