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Will Red Sox find their 2019 closer at deadline?

July 30, 2018 - 8:50 am

The Red Sox can go two ways in their quest for another relief pitcher at the non-waiver trade deadline. They can extend a palatable offer in securing a rental, with plenty of options still out there (Brad Ziegler, Sergio Romo, Fernando Rodney, Bud Norris, Jake Diekman). Or the Sox can allocate some significant minor-league assets to find a reliever who not only helps them now but potentially becomes Craig Kimbrel's replacement next season.

Kimbrel, of course, will be a free agent at the end of the season, leaving the Red Sox with the difficult decision of how to fill the closer role. With the need to make decisions on Chris Sale, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Rick Porcello, while deciphering if David Price's contract is still going to be on the books, it won't be easy to match what the Sox' closer will ultimately be offered in the open market.

Matt Barnes and Tyler Thornburg might be in the mix, and there will certainly be other closers available in the free agent market. But perhaps Dave Dombrowski wants to find Kimbrel's heir apparent now, filling a current need in the process. Here are some candidates:

Rasiel Iglesias, Reds: He working under a seven-year, $27 million contract that runs through 2020. (He will be eligible for one year of arbitration eligibility after that, although he has the option of opting out.) The righty would absolutely represent an option to close if Kimbrel leaves after this season, having excelled in the role for the Reds (21 saves, 2.11 ERA). His batting average against sits at .192, striking out 49 and walking 15 in 47 innings.

Kyle Barraclough, Marlins: The righty isn't arbitration-eligible until following this season, and has all kind of is absolutely viewed as a closer-type. He has experienced some ups and downs in the role with the Marlins, going 10 for 15 in save chances. But Barraclough's batting average against is still just .160, getting righty and lefty hitters out at a remarkably similar rate.

Keone Kela, Rangers: The Rangers' closer is death on righties (.125 batting average against), but has had trouble against left-handed hitters (.321). He is 24 of 25 in save opportunities, having blown his first one two appearances ago. He makes $1.2 million this season, having two more years of arbitration eligibility left.

Kirby Yates, Padres: He has taken over the Padres' closer role now that Brad Hand has moved on, carrying a 1.60 ERA and .171 batting average against. Right-handed hitters have just seven hits in 82 at-bats against Yates (.085), who makes $1.0625 million this year with two more years of arbitration eligibility left.

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