In baseball, you don't win championships without a great bullpen -- just ask the Boston Red Sox.
Last year's champions had a glut of great pitchers in the pen, giving them a clear advantage over the Dodgers in the Fall Classic. But if the BoSox want to repeat in 2019, it looks like an overhaul might be in order.
The Red Sox lost one of their key cogs in that bullpen with the hard-throwing Joe Kelly defecting out west to those very same Dodgers he helped stifle in October.
Not only that, but the Sox stand to lose another, even more important part of that pen: closer Craig Kimbrel. One of the most decorated and consistent closers of this generation, Kimbrel is looking for an absurd deal that would pay him nine figures and into his late 30s, which is not something the Sox will want to do.
I've heard execs from 2 teams say this week that Craig Kimbrel is looking for a deal north of $100 million for 6 years.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 13, 2018
He's one of the greatest closers of all time. But is there a record deal out there for him? Hard to say in a bullpen market that has barely moved.
So no Kelly, likely no Kimbrel. What's Boston going to do? Guys like Ryan Brasier, Heath Hembree, and Brandon Workman are still in the fold, but them alone aren't nearly enough to compete next year.
The Sox are going to need a bullpen overhaul, and quick. Free agents are already starting to sign.