The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey was one of many who tweeted out comments from Dave Dombrowski on the Red Sox offseason this morning. Among the notable tidbits, the Red Sox are apparently prepared to send out qualifying offers to some of their free agents, though Dombrowski couldn’t speak to the specifics until MLB releases the names on Friday.
Presumably, this list includes only one name: closer Craig Kimbrel. Boston could look to replace him with in-house options, the top candidates being Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier (twitter links). If Kimbrel does depart, bolstering the bullpen could very well become a focus of the Boston offseason – especially if fellow free agent Joe Kelly follows Kimbrel out the door.
One player who definitely won’t be receiving a qualifying offer is Nathan Eovaldi – he is ineligible after being acquired mid-season from the Rays. Competition for the right-hander is expected to be fierce after his gutsy playoff performance with the Red Sox. Fellow mid-season acquisitions Steve Pearce and Ian Kinsler are also ineligible to receive qualifying offers.
On the health front, MLB.com’s Ian Browne was among those to confirm that Chris Sale is not expected to undergo offseason surgery (via Twitter). The lanky left-hander needs only rest to be ready for Spring Training. Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald adds (via Twitter) that the team is hopeful that Dustin Pedroia will be ready in time for Spring Training, though that is far less certain.
The catching situation in Boston remains a crowded, but capable field. It is unlikely that Boston will head into next season with all three of Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart on the active roster – but it’s not an impossibility (Twitter link). Boston experimented with using Swihart in a superutility role last season, but it’s unclear whether or not Boston believes that’s a sustainable solution moving forward.
On the whole, Dombrowski is understandably pleased with the current state of the Red Sox and would be happy to bring back the entire squad as currently constituted for 2019, per the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. Thus far, the Red Sox have kept David Price in the fold after he forewent his opt-out clause, as well as Eduardo Nunez, who picked up his $5MM option for 2019. It will obviously be expensive to keep this core together long-term, but as of now, Boston ownership has not mentioned staying under the luxury tax as a priority for 2019.