BOSTON (CBS) — There isn’t much on Dave Dombrowski’s offseason to-do list, but finding someone for the ninth inning remains at the top of his agenda.
He isn’t in any rush to check that one off, and will reportedly wait out the market, much like he did last season with free agent slugger J.D. Martinez. According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, the Red Sox will wait and see how Craig Kimbrel’s market plays out before making a splash for any closer:
Industry speculation is the Red Sox are waiting out the relieving market, seeing what transpires with Craig Kimbrel and then going from there. As was the case with J.D. Martinez last offseason the Red Sox perceive themselves to be in a position where there is no need to jump the gun when it comes to locking up Kimbrel or his replacement. With a litany of closing options on the market, Dombrowski can wait this thing out.
Kimbrel is looking for a big-money, long-term deal this winter. His agent has said his client is seeking a six-year deal, which may be too long of a commitment for the Red Sox with Kimbrel set to turn 31 during next season.
If Kimbrel becomes too expensive for Boston, Dombrowski will likely turn his attention to Kelvin Herrera, whom they should be able to get on a much shorter deal than the pact Kimbrel is seeking. Herrera is coming off a season-ending foot injury he suffered in August, and will have an exam done in Washington D.C. next week to determine if he’ll be healthy by April. While that injury may cause teams to be wary of Herrera, it could also make him an extremely affordable option that pays off big-time come next season.
Herrera had 14 saves with a 1.05 ERA in 27 appearances for the Kansas City Royals last season before being dealt to the Nationals for three minor leaguers in June. He went 1-2 with just three saves, two holds and a 4.34 ERA in 21 games with Washington before getting hurt, but the 28-year-old is a two-time All-Star with 60 saves and a 1.15 WHIP over his eight-year career.
Boston will still likely kick the tires on other big name relievers like Zach Britton and David Robertson, but if Dombrowski wants to wait out the market and not make such a giant investment on his closer, Herrera could be an interesting option that would only command a shorter-term deal.