BOSTON (CBS) — Heading into last year’s postseason, the No. 1 (and No. 2 and No. 3) concern about the Boston Red Sox was their bullpen. Yet with baseball being baseball, the one reliable reliever — Craig Kimbrel — had a rough playoffs, while the rest of the bullpen was nearly perfect en route to a World Series run.

This year, the Sox appear comfortable in not re-signing Kimbrel, and instead going with in house options like Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, and/or Tyler Thornburg.

In the latest edition of Slice Of Sully, WBZ-TV sports producer Scott Sullivan wondered if this is an arrogant decision, or whether it might all work out once again for the Red Sox.

“It feels a little arrogant to me that they’re going with their own guys instead of maybe going out and signing somebody or perhaps bringing Kimbrel back,” Sullivan said to Steve Burton. “But everything worked out last year, maybe it keeps working out again.”

Sullivan is OK with the Red Sox moving on from Kimbrel, after the closer posted a 5.91 ERA and 1.594 WHIP in nine postseason appearances last October. Still, that doesn’t mean that whoever gets thrust into the closer’s role will be able to handle it.

“I’m just not sure if Barnes is ready to handle that position,” Sullivan said. “It’s a different role to be a closer. Instead of the seventh or eighth inning, you’ve gotta be really tough-minded. Not everybody can close. You just can’t all of a sudden come into the ninth and start doing it. Some guys can do it, some can’t. I’m not sure if Barnes can do it, I’m not sure if Brasier can do it, Thornburg … I mean, we haven’t seen Thornburg in two years. So the candidates are … I like Brasier and Barnes, but as closers, I’m not so sure about that.”

Sully also talked about whether Chris Sale can last the whole season, and whether the Red Sox and Alex Cora can manage to repeat as champions. Watch in the video above!

Comments (2)
  1. Piggly Wiggly says:

    Are Red Sox Being Arrogant By Not Signing A Closer?

    Frustratingly foolish

  2. Mark Trachtenberg says:

    The Sox are not being arrogant by not signing a closer. Based on the team’s overall salary, they can’t afford one. Also, Kimbrel was extremely shaky “down the stretch”. And, even though he had 6 post season saves and no blown ones, his pitching in those situations was nerve-wracking to say the least, maybe 1 or 2 of those saves were comfortable. It is not surprising that he has not been signed. When he is good. he can be lights out. When he is bad, one never knows where the ball is going. Am I, as a fan, comfortable without a closer, … “No” but it is better than disrupting the starting staff to trade to get a closer. They do have options and seeing as how Cora did as well as any first year manager can possibly do, I feel comfortable that he will make the right choice to start the season.