USA Today Sports

Dave Dombrowski doubles down with stance on closer

Rob Bradford
January 09, 2019 - 9:59 am

This isn't a news flash, but it is notable.

When it comes to the Red Sox acquiring a closer, Dave Dombrowski isn't changing his tune. That became evident once again in the Sox' president of baseball operations' conversation with USA Today.

"Craig (Kimbrel) did a great job for us, he’s a Hall of Fame reliever," Dombrowski told Bob Nightengale, "but we have not anticipated having a large expenditure for a closer."

It is the same tone struck by Dombrowski at the MLB winter meetings, stating that due to the tough financial decisions on the horizon the Red Sox weren't going to allocate significant resources to finding a late-inning reliever. Four key players -- J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Rick Porcello and Chris Sale -- will be eligible for free agency after 2019, with Mookie Betts under his final year of control in 2020.

"Ownership has been great,’" Dombrowski said in the article, "but we can’t keep them all. We’re going to have to make some hard decisions." 

Dombrowski has cited Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier as possible replacements for Kimbrel, also bringing up Steven Wright as part of the late-inning mix. The Red Sox do have some interesting minor-league relievers on the horizon, with Durbin Feltman and Travis Lakins representing possible high-leverage arms.

The Red Sox could still very well lock up one or the available free agent relievers left, with Adam Ottavino joining Kimbrel as the most coveted options. But with the Sox digging in on their terms, it would seem to be a reach that either one of those pitchers couldn't find a deal than what Boston was willing to offer.

For a complete list of free agent candidates to help fill out the Red Sox' bullpen, click here.

Related: Resetting the reliever market for the Red Sox