Red Sox

Dave Dombrowski implies Craig Kimbrel won't be returning to Red Sox

Dave Dombrowski implies Craig Kimbrel won't be returning to Red Sox

It's looking more and more likely that Craig Kimbrel won't be returning to the Red Sox in 2019.

With the Winter Meetings underway in Las Vegas, Dave Dombrowski touched on various topics related to what the team's philosophy will be this offseason. Perhaps the biggest takeaway was the Red Sox' President of Baseball Operations discussing the chances of re-signing closer Craig Kimbrel.

"We're not going to be overly aggressive with big expenditures I don't think for an elite closer at this point," Dombrowski said Monday evening. "Our payroll is pretty high at this point, so without getting specific on him, we're not looking to make a big expenditure in that area. So read that as you may."

Dombrowski mentioned the team feels comfortable moving forward with the bullpen as currently constructed.

"We like a lot of the guys in our bullpen," Dombrowski said. "Brasier did a good job, Barnes did a good job for us, now they've moved Steven Wright out to the bullpen for us with this type of move that we made. We've got Workman, we've got Hembree, we like Bobby Poyner from last year, we like some of our young arms, we picked up Colten Brewer, so somebody that may end up helping us out there any way we can. But I don't have a specific on that; it's somewhat dependent upon cost of acquisition and how there's an acquisition. There's a lot of relievers out there at this point."

Sox manager Alex Cora shared the same sentiment as Dombrowski.

"Obviously with Barnes and Brasier, we feel comfortable they can get outs late in games, so I'm comfortable with the guys we have," Cora said. "We don't have to name a closer going into Spring Training."

The odds of the Red Sox bringing Kimbrel seemed slim once it was revealed the 30-year-old is looking for a six-year contract. As all indications point toward Boston moving on from the 2018 World Series champion closer, they still appear to have multiple free agent relievers on their radar.

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Red Sox claim RHP Phillips Valdez off waivers, place Dustin Pedroia on 60-day IL

Red Sox claim RHP Phillips Valdez off waivers, place Dustin Pedroia on 60-day IL

The Boston Red Sox have made yet another move to bolster their pitching depth.

On Sunday, they claimed right-hander Phillips Valdez off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. To make room for Valdez, they placed veteran second baseman Dustin Pedroia on the 60-day injured list.


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Valdez, 27, only has 11 games worth of major league experience under his belt. In 2019, he posted a 3.94 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in 16 innings pitched with the Texas Rangers. Valdez was claimed off waivers by the Mariners in November, then designated for assignment on Saturday.

Pedroia suffered a "significant setback" during his knee rehab, so his placement on the 60-day IL doesn't come as a surprise. The 36-year-old did not report to spring training with the Red Sox.

Along with Valdez, Boston has added Chris Mazza, Martin Perez, Trevor Hildenberger, to its pitching staff this offseason.

An Opening Day start for Red Sox' Chris Sale: 'I think I'm going to be ready'

An Opening Day start for Red Sox' Chris Sale: 'I think I'm going to be ready'

Already coming off a season cut short by an elbow injury that shut him down last August, Chris Sale's spring training got off to a slow start as he recovered from a bout with pneumonia just as pitchers and catchers reported to Red Sox camp in Fort Myers. 

He says he's progressing after the illness led to him dropping a few pounds from his already thin frame (6-foot-6, 180). He'll throw a side session Sunday and told reporters on Saturday that he thinks he'll be ready for Opening Day March 26.

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"I think I’m going to be ready for [the opener]. But like I said, those aren’t my calls to make. I go out there, do my job, tell them how I feel on a daily basis," Sale said. "Obviously as the workload picks up, we have to see how things work out. I’ve just got to be open and honest with them and then we map out a plan and see how it works out."

In a Friday interview on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni and Fauria" show, Sale said having his season end early last summer and going through a rehab process to avoid Tommy John surgery has him raring to go into 2020 despite questions about his stamina.

"I feel like I'm better now than I was then because of going through that [injury and rehab]."

Sale hasn't reached 200 innings pitched since 2017. He went 6-11 in 25 starts (147.1 IP) in what he called "a nightmare season" in 2019 after his and all the starters' workloads were limited in spring training and he struggled with his velocity at times before the injury was diagnosed.

"I feel really good," he told WEEI. "I can sit here and tell you what I want to do, what I think I'm going to do, but I've just got to go do it. I live here in town and put in a lot of work. I was here four to five times a week. It's exciting. For me, this really started last September October when that rehab process began.

"I gotta get back to the basics. Not really worry about fading, the injuries. This is sports. Injuries can happen overnight...I'm not worried about what my track record is or what people are thinking of me."