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!