The Boston Red Sox may be in the market for a new closer and could actually get two for the price of one. Zach Britton and David Robertson could cost what it would for Craig Kimbrel.
Just what is a bogofree? For those not emotionally invested in couponing and marketing schemes, it is translated to simply “Buy one, get one free.” The Red Sox could potentially consider that when looking at the potential meat (money) in contracts for Zach Britton and David Robertson. The key ingredient is Craig Kimbrel. Do the Red Sox feel enough love to bring back Kimbrel?
Kimbrel is seeking a six-year deal and the money somewhere in the vicinity of what an Airbus A318 would be on the shelf for ($75 MM). Last season Kimbrel earned – and he most certainly did – $13 MM. That figure will be exceeded, but by how much is the question? Kimbrel is an elite closer even with a spotty postseason performance and will get his payout.
Britton and Robertson have a common thread as both are pegged to gather in a three-year deal at $33 MM. Another thread is they are both stalwarts of the Yankees bullpen – a team with whom the Red Sox enjoy a rather noted competitive interest in.
Britton has fallen on hard times that are the direct result of some pesky injuries, but the 31-year-old lefty turned it around especially in September when batters hit a Sandy Leon like .088 against Britton. What is noteworthy is Britton’s notorious ability to induce ground balls with a career 65.4 GB%. In Britton’s 40.2 innings in 2018 the rate was 73%. Britton is most certainly not home run prone.
Next up is righty David Robertson who has long been a force out of the bullpen either as a closer od setup. Now 33-years-old Robertson’s touch apparently has aged well appearing in 69 games for New York tossing 69.2 innings. Robertson also has a respectable history as a closer with 137 career saves and an 80% save percentage. Not bad.
The Red Sox could make both an offer that would equal or close to equal Kimbrel money. With Britton, the concern is his recent injury history, but oh that reward if Britton is back to his form of a few seasons back. And Robertson? A personal tormentor of the Red Sox with a career 2.06 ERA at Fenway Park.
Both may be in the three-year range in contracts and that is certainly less risky than extended years for either and especially Kimbrel. The idea of denting the Yankees certainly will appeal to any Red Sox fan and the big plus is Britton and Robertson are interchangeable as closer/setup.
The addition of both could also doom a return to Boston of postseason hero Joe Kelly. Kelly may also be in the market for three years and a wee bit less coin than Britton or Robertson – a possibility of Kelly and an either-or regarding Britton and Robertson.
The Red Sox may need a closer and a closer that has experience and a stellar track record. Kimbrel would be the first choice, but that may evaporate with contract demands. Britton and Robertson could be a bogo.