Kelvin Herrera

MLB Rumors: Red Sox could target Kelvin Herrera in free agency

MLB Rumors: Red Sox could target Kelvin Herrera in free agency

Add another name to the Boston Red Sox's reliever wish list.

The Red Sox likely will have interest in free agent closer Kelvin Herrera this offseason, WEEI's Rob Bradford speculated Monday.

Herrera suffered a season-ending foot injury in August but recently began some light jogging and possibly could be healthy by April if an examination in Washington, D.C. next week goes well, per Bradford.

Boston hasn't necessarily expressed direct interest in the 28-year-old right-hander, according to Bradford. But "industry speculation" is that the club is taking a wait-and-see approach to the reliever market, choosing to wait until Craig Kimbrel's free agent fate is decided before making any moves.

If the Red Sox do wait until later in the offseason and Herrera's physical outlook appears promising, Dave Dombrowski and Co. likely would at least consider giving the veteran closer a short-term contract.

Herrera struggled after joining the Washington Nationals midway through the 2018 season but built an impressive resume with the Kansas City Royals prior to that, vaulting from setup man to closer while earning two All-Star nods and a World Series title in 2015.

Boston reportedly could target other big names like Zach Britton and David Robertson, but Herrera represents another intriguing option who may not demand such a lucrative contract.

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Five Red Sox bullpen targets in free agency

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NBC Sports Boston illustration

Five Red Sox bullpen targets in free agency

The Red Sox’ offseason forays are likely to be focused on pitching, unless they decide to reshape their offense with an eye on perhaps setting themselves up for the future with players who are further away from free agency — and there’s no indication they’re going to act that way. The Sox could be in a position to wait out some relievers as well, although president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has been known to move quickly when he has a target. But he first, of course, has to have a target.

Here — speculatively, and in no particular order — are five free agents the Red Sox could make a run at as they fill out a bullpen that may lose Craig Kimbrel.

1. Adam Ottavino. Take the Brooklyn kid and bring him to Boston. As far as upside goes, Ottavino has as much as anyone. Entering his age-33 season, the righty struck out 13 per nine innings in 2018. His walks can be problematic, and the Sox would hope that he’d perform more like he did in the first half this year with the Rockies (1.62 ERA, 18 walks, 44 1/3 innings) than the second (3.51 ERA, 18 walks, 33 1/3 innings).

2. Kelvin Herrera. Had the Red Sox lost the World Series, we could be talking about Herrera as the one who got away — and also, maybe, a crisis averted. The Sox had a deal with the Nats for the hard-throwing righty at the trade deadline, and Nats ownership decided not to move him. Shortly after the deadline, Herrera tore a ligament in his left foot. Who knows what would have happened had the Sox acquired him, but if they’re losing one power arm in Craig Kimbrel, Herrera is a way to replace at least the velocity. His fastball sits at 97 mph.  

3. Zach Britton. For two years now, Zach Britton’s been walking a lot of hitters, more than four per nine innings. If the Red Sox think they can help him cut those down, then entering his age-31 season, he almost represents a potential buy-low candidate. Plus, he’s at least familiar with the division.

4. Jeurys Familia. Familia isn’t the best relief option out there but he does represent something of a known quantity. At 29, he’s also on the younger side among the more established names being thrown around, with closer experience.

5. Joe Kelly. He’s not under the radar. But Kelly wants to be in Boston and the Sox want him back, and the sides have been in touch. There’s a greater likelihood that the Sox and Kelly get something done than the Sox and Kimbrel, and a reprise feels like a natural move after Kelly grew in Boston — his fan base grew as well, following a fun night with Tyler Austin.

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Red Sox stand pat at deadline, don't add bullpen arm

Red Sox stand pat at deadline, don't add bullpen arm

After the Ian Kinsler trade late Monday, the Red Sox attempted to add a reliever from the Washington Nationals, but stood pat with what they have in the bullpen, for now, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters at Fenway Park shortly after the 4 p.m. trade deadline passed. 

Players can still be acquired who'll be eligible for the postseason before Aug. 31, but would have to clear waivers. Boston, with the best record in baseball, would have the last shot at any waiver claim behind the other 29 teams. 

The reliever the Red Sox were eyeing was from the Washington Nationals, according to a source.

Buster Olney of ESPN reported earlier that Kelvin Herrera of the Nats was the reliever the Red Sox sought.

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