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Dave Dombrowski suggests Craig Kimbrel not in the Red Sox' picture

Rob Bradford
December 10, 2018 - 7:35 pm

LAS VEGAS -- Dave Dombrowski wasn't about to definitively say Craig Kimbrel wasn't going to fit into the Red Sox' plans, or even mention the closer by name when discussing his free agent situation. But it wasn't difficult to read between the lines.

"No, not really," Dombrowski told the local media during when asked if he was waiting for Kimbrel to commit to a deal before addressing the Red Sox' bullpen vacancy. "When I say that we’re not going to be overly aggressive with big expenditures for our relief closer at this point. Our payroll is pretty high at this point. Without getting specific on him, we’re not looking to make a big expenditure in that area. So read that as you may. There are some rules and regulations in that regard, what you can say and what you can’t say as far as free agent players are concerned."

So, there you have it.

The more Dombrowski talked Monday night the more it became evident that he will be cautious when it comes to committing long-term to the closer spot due to financial concerns in the coming seasons. In other words, the Red Sox can't give Kimbrel the long-term deal he seeks due to the need to save up for possible extensions for the likes of Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. (all of whom can become free agents in the next two seasons).

Another theme throughout the session was Dombrowski, and Alex Cora, saying how comfortable they with the Red Sox' internal candidates to close, particularly Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes, noting that there was no need to announce a closer any time soon.

"I’m fine with the guys we have," the Red Sox manager said. "Obviously, with Barnes and Brasier, we feel comfortable they can get outs late in games. I’m comfortable with the guys right now. We don’t have to name a closer going into spring training."

"We’re just really exploring everything," Dombrowski added. "I think we’re in a good situation compared to most clubs. I don’t feel like we have to rush into anything. We like our ballclub a lot. We’ll just sort of wait to see what happens, what the best thing is to do.

"I do caution, and the one thing I keep talking about is that it’s just from a financial perspective and rule perspective, it’s not going to be possible to keep everybody that we have. You have to realize that if anybody is signed long-term now, it may have an effect on some other things that you may do later on. Sometimes there may be some scenarios we’re more interested in a short-term deal at this time. That changes, because some of our conversations with our own internal players change, too. But we’re cognizant of a couple of really important guys that we want to keep for the long-term that are going to be free agents within the next year or two. That is in the back of our mind."

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