Red Sox

Owens finishes rookie season on a low note

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Owens finishes rookie season on a low note

CLEVELAND -- In a perfect world, Henry Owens would have finished his rookie season with a standout start, one that would send him into the off-season on a mental high, a fitting end to a promising first half-year in the big leagues.

The world isn't perfect, however, and neither was Owens Friday night.

In fact, he was far from it.

Owens was rocked for seven runs on 10 hits and couldn't get out of the fifth inning, part of a lopsided 8-2 shellacking by the Cleveland Indians.

"His fastball command wasn't as consistent as it has been,'' bemoaned interim manager Torey Lovullo. "They did a good job. They would wait for a particular pitch in a certain zone and they waited him out.''

"Definitely (an issue with fastball command),'' agreed Owens. "It was more mechanical and it's something I'll continue to work on in the off-season and be better at.''

Even as Owens was allowing a walk and a string of hits in the fifth, the Sox stayed with him, to see if he could work his way out of trouble.

But Owens was laboring, his pitch count over 100, and when Abraham Almonte dropped a bloop single into left to score the third run of the inning, that was it for Owens.

In 11 starts, Owens finished 4-4 with a 4.54 ERA -- hardly dominant numbers. But those were inflated by three poor starts -- Friday night, one vs. New York a month ago and another in August against Seattle -- during which Owens allowed seven runs each time.

In the other eight starts, only once did Owens allow more than three runs, and it's those that Owens will focus on this winter.

"That's how I play this game,'' he said. "I'm never going to (concentrate) on the negatives; I'm only going to focus on the positives and there's a lot of learning experience I've had in those 11 outings, good stuff for the off-season and bringing to spring training.''

Owens added some weight in the off-season, and it took him almost a month or so into the minor league season at Pawtucket before he became comfortable with his bigger body and refine his mechanics.

That remains an ongoing project as Owens vowed to "continue to refine my delivery and make it as repeatable as possible and make it muscle memory. Everything drives off the fastball. That's what I've been doing in the five years of playing professional. Now, I'm here and you're constantly trying to refine your delivery and get better.''

Asked if he felt he proved anything this season, Owens didn't hesitate.

“I believe I belong (in the big leagues), yes,'' he said.

Owens will be a candidate for the rotation next spring, along with fellow young lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, along with returning veterans Rick Porcello, Joe Kelly, Wade Miley and Clay Buchholz. 

"I think he's done a great job,'' said Lovullo. "Everyone who's watching him and evaluating him is very impressed with what he's doing. As far as his development goes, he just keeps getting better. What I said to him after the game was, he should be very proud. He did a very good job while he was here. He grew up a little bit and it will prepare him for a better 2016.”

Craig Kimbrel rejects qualifying offer, will enter free agency

Craig Kimbrel rejects qualifying offer, will enter free agency

To the surprise of almost no one, Craig Kimbrel rejected his $17.9 million qualifrying offer from the Red Sox and will test the free agent market for a bigger contract. 

Kimbrel is reportedly looking for a contract worth around $80 million, and this move will allow the Red Sox to receive a draft pick if Kimbrel signs elsewhere. 

Kimbrel recorded 42 saves for the Red Sox on the way to a World Series championship. However, Kimbrel was shaky in the postseason. He allowed seven earned runs in the playoffs but never lost a game in the ninth. 

Kimbrel may fetch big money this offseason as a big-name closer, so the Red Sox will have to decide whether its worth the long term commitment to retain his services. 

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Joe Kelly hopes to stay with Red Sox for rest of his career

Joe Kelly hopes to stay with Red Sox for rest of his career

Joe Kelly had an up-and-down 2018 season with the Red Sox. 

He started the season strong, solidifying himself as a key set up artist for closer Craig Kimbrel. But then he fell off to the point where Red Sox fans did not know if they could count on him in the postseason. 

Kelly finished the year with a 4.39 ERA, only to become one of the best relievers in baseball during the playoffs. In 11.1 innings, Kelly posted a 1.59 ERA with 16 strikeouts. 

Now, the 30-year old right hander is a free agent due for a considerable pay day. Howwever, Kelly told Jim Rome he doesn't see himself playing anywhere other than Boston. 

I love being apart of the team and the coaching staff we have... Everyone gets along so well and I don’t even feel like a free agent, I still feel like a part of the Boston Red Sox. It's a place I feel like I’m going to be the rest of my career. Free agency is going to be fun to see what teams are interested in me, but hopefully I can be a Red Sox for the rest of my career. 

We don't know if the Red Sox plan to spend the money necessary on Kelly or if Kimbrel's sitation will be the deciding factor in Kelly coming back, but at least we know where the releiver wants to be. 

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