As the Red Sox are seeking bullpen help, they must be wary of contract length.
Despite very little documented activity within the free agent market, the Boston Red Sox have maintained mutual interest with multiple relievers. The bullpen was a documented need before winning a World Series title, but the loss of Joe Kelly certainly didn’t help.
Yes, Kelly was a rollercoaster reliever with promising highs and head-scratching lows, but his loss will be felt if no replacement is made. However, the Red Sox have maintained contact with both Craig Kimbrel and David Robertson. As Jon Heyman reported, both relievers are known to have interest in playing in Boston, but there isn’t an agreement on contract length.
It’s no secret that Kimbrel is trying to capitalize on the contract of a lifetime. Despite occasional shakiness in Boston, the hard throwing reliever is one of the game’s premier closers and will be paid accordingly. As of now, his demand doesn’t meet up with Dave Dombrowski’s desire; however if Craig would be willing to return on a shorter deal with a higher annual value, an agreement could be found. His most recent contractual demands align with Yankees’ closer, Aroldis Chapman, who received a 5 year / $86 million deal last season.
As included in the Heyman piece, Robertson is seeking a three year deal. For the Red Sox, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to pay for a 33 year old reliever for more than two seasons. Acquiring the veteran reliever would certainly be a welcomed addition, as he’s posted a career 2.88 ERA with stops in the Bronx and Chicago. Adding value to an already impressive commodity is the fact that Robertson has closed out games throughout his career – tallying 137 career saves.
With Kimbrel unsigned, the Red Sox are without a closer and adding Robertson to the bullpen would allow for a proven backup plan. Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes represent internal options, but neither have an established track record to suggest that it would be a flawless transition.
A deal for the Red Sox will certainly happen, but as rumors continue to spread, be wary of contract length with Dave Dombrowski.