One MLB insider believes Red Sox are positioned for a reunion in the bullpen
Chaim Bloom and the Boston Red Sox took care of closer Matt Barnes by way of a multi-year extension on Sunday.
And with Barnes taken care of financially, the Sox are set up ‘well politically’ for a reunion with former Red Sox closer and current Cubs finisher Craig Kimbrel, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Boston's signing of Matt Barnes sets up the Red Sox well politically to pursue Craig Kimbrel and build a powerful bullpen, if that's the route they want to go. Now Barnes knows that whatever role he has--closer, set-up man -- he's going to get paid the same the next two seasons.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 12, 2021
For Bloom and the Sox, bringing Kimbrel back into the fold would give the Sox another highly, highly capable weapon in their ‘pen, with Kimbrel in the midst of a strong, All-Star season in Chicago.
On the mound for 31.2 innings to date this season, the 33-year-old Kimbrel has compiled a 0.57 ERA (his second-best as a pro), struck out 54 batters, held opponents to a .104 average, and has converted on 20 of his 22 save opportunities for the Cubbies.
Kimbrel could also be more than a rental if traded, too, as his contract comes with a $16 million club option for 2022, with a vesting option that becomes guaranteed if Kimbrel finishes 55 games in 2021 and passes a physical.
The Red Sox will not be the only team to potentially pursue Kimbrel, of course, as the eight-time All-Star remains one of the game’s most effective closers after working through some struggles and making tweaks in both 2019 and 2020.
Kimbrel was certainly effective in his first Boston run, too, with successful saves in 108 of his 119 save opportunities with the Sox, three All-Star appearances, and a sixth-place Cy Young finish in 2017 over the course of his three-year run in town.
The Red Sox entered the All-Star break with a 3.57 bullpen era this season, which stands as the ninth-best in baseball.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.