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Why Kelvin Herrera will be of some interest to Red Sox

Rob Bradford
December 03, 2018 - 3:01 pm

On the surface, it seems like an easy equation.

The Red Sox need a closer and that is exactly what Kelvin Herrera represents when healthy. Add in the fact that Dave Dombrowski tried trading for the 28-year-old at the non-waiver trade deadline and there would seem to be plenty of smoke and fire.

But it's not that simple.

Herrera's season ended last season on Aug. 26 when he tore the Lisfranc ligament in his left foot, and it wasn't until last week that the reliever was cleared for some light jogging.

According to a major league source Herrera is scheduled to travel to Washington, D.C. next week for an examination, with the plan to resume baseball activities in January if everything checks out. On that timeline there is a very real possibility that the former Royals closer will be available sometime in April, with Opening Day not out of the conversation.

What does all of this mean in terms of the Red Sox? When it is all said and done Herrera remains an intriguing option.

Industry speculation is the Red Sox are waiting out the relieving market, seeing what transpires with Craig Kimbrel and then going from there. As was the case with J.D. Martinez last offseason the Red Sox perceive themselves to be in a position where there is no need to jump the gun when it comes to locking up Kimbrel or his replacement. With a litany of closing options on the market, Dombrowski can wait this thing out.

And if the relief market does drag out like some think might be the case (remember the deal for last offseason's prize closer Wade Davis didn't get done until Dec. 29) that will allow for more time to get a read on Herrera's health. If the foot is thought to be trending in the right direction, this is a pitcher who still represents one of the best game-enders in MLB at an age that would make a short-term deal in 2019 palatable due to the idea of his payday coming after proving his health for a full season.

Even if the Red Sox take the plunge with the likes of David Robertson, Andrew Miller, Jeurys Familia, Joe Kelly, Adam Ottavino or another reliever, a pursuit of healthy Herrera makes some sense.

It's not going to happen any time soon, but the idea of the Red Sox finally reeling in Herrera should give you something to talk about after next week's MLB winter meetings have come and gone.

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