Reports have surfaced that the Red Sox are willing to wait out their closer, but is that a smart decision?
To be fair, this is the perfect strategy for the Red Sox if they are determined to re-sign their closer. As Buster Olney mentioned in his story, the market for a 6 year / $100+ million deal is virtually non-existent, even for a player that has a potential Hall of Fame resume in Craig Kimbrel.
Most teams aren’t interested in handing out a six year contract for a reliever that will be 36 by the end of his record-breaking deal. Monetarily this creates issues, but there should be red flags in regards to a potential loss in productivity. As fans know, Kimbrel is a closer that relies on high 90’s velocity and vicious offspeed due to his poor BB/9 ratios (posting a BB/9 below 4 in one season in a Red Sox uniform).
Examining pitch tunneling shows the effectiveness that Kimbrel can have, regardless of his poor control. His pitches look the same, but will a drop off in velocity cause issues? A GM would have to convince themselves that the Red Sox closer can sustain success into the latter half of his career in order to reward the astronomical contract that he so desires.
Kimbrel Tunneling Example:
Craig Kimbrel, 98mph Fastball and 88mph Knuckle Curve, Overlay.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 24, 2018
Good luck. pic.twitter.com/U0kZATGLhQ
Are the Red Sox Going to Wait?
As it stands, it’s likely that the Sox are going to continue to let the market play out before making a decision within their bullpen. The loss of Joe Kelly will expedite the decision making process, but Dave Dombrowski seems content with the state of their bullpen if they’re able to retain the services of their beloved closer.
If handed the keys, I would move on from Kimbrel and load the back-end of the Red Sox bullpen with previously mentioned options. The true struggle with waiting could lead to missed opportunities with the developing market. However, it appears that (for now) the Sox are willing to wait and see what happens with Craig Kimbrel.