Miller: Bullpen Departures Could Cost Red Sox In 2019

The departures of Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly could make things more difficult for Alex Cora, says Scott Miller.

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
March 28, 2019 - 10:20 am
Craig Kimbrel and Alex Cora

USA TODAY images


The Boston Red Sox begin their season on Thursday night in Seattle against the Mariners. Alex Cora and company have the tough task of trying to repeat as World Series champions after a historic year for the Sox in 2018.

Boston made relatively quick work of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Fall Classic for the club’s ninth title. The Red Sox won 108 games in the regular season and made things look easy at times as they ran the table from April through October.

But this year’s Red Sox team looks a bit different, most notably in the bullpen, where a few key departures could make things more difficult for Boston.

“They’re missing two big pieces from last year,” Bleacher Report MLB Insider Scott Miller said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “They elected not to re-sign Craig Kimbrel, their closer, at least not at the price he wanted. Another key piece of their bullpen last year, the former St. Louis Cardinal that the Red Sox acquired a few years back, Joe Kelly, was a free agent and ended up signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kimbrel and Kelly are two big pieces missing from that bullpen right now.”

Kimbrel, who is still a free agent, was an All-Star last season as he compiled 42 saves with a 5-1 record and a 2.74 ERA. The Red Sox chose not to attempt to re-sign him, possibly because of his postseason struggles and possibly because of the amount of money he was requesting.

Kelly was also an important part of what was a talented Boston pitching staff.

Cora became the fifth rookie manager to win a World Series when the Red Sox hoisted the trophy in late October.

“Alex Cora, in his debut year as manager with the Red Sox last year, looked like a genius when he won the World Series. But I’ll tell you what, that bullpen this year, if they don’t get it organized and set-up and guys don’t step up, that bullpen has a chance to make Alex Cora look not so smart.”