BOSTON -- When Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters on the first day of the Winter Meetings that the club was not going to be "overly aggressive with big expenditures for our closer at this point," it seemed to be an indication that the World Series
BOSTON -- When Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters on the first day of the Winter Meetings that the club was not going to be "overly aggressive with big expenditures for our closer at this point," it seemed to be an indication that the World Series champions had turned the page on free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel.
But the Hot Stove season can be full of surprises, so nothing should be ruled out on that front.
Along those lines, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, citing a source, tweeted that "it appears that the Red Sox are waiting to see what happens with Craig Kimbrel before making any moves in the relief market."
Dombrowski said Thursday that his stance hasn't changed since the Winter Meetings.
It could be that the Sox are waiting to see if Kimbrel's price comes down to a level that Boston would be more willing to pay. Kimbrel was an All-Star each of the past three seasons for Boston and is considered one of the elite closers in the game.
The relief market could finally be starting to move, with reports surfacing Thursday that lefty Andrew Miller and the Cardinals are close on a deal.
Earlier this offseason, reports surfaced that Kimbrel was seeking a contract of five or six years at $100 million.
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The Red Sox, including their projected salary-arbitration commitments, already have approximately $230 million spoken for with regards to the 2019 payroll.
Dombrowski recently stated the Red Sox would prefer not to go above the final luxury-tax threshold -- which is now $246 million -- for the second consecutive season. As a penalty for going above the final threshold in the championship-winning 2018, the Sox paid a penalty of $11.9 million and moved down 10 spots in the 2019 Draft.
It's always possible Boston could trade a veteran this winter and reallocate that money to fortify the bullpen.
If Kimbrel signs elsewhere, there is still considerable depth on the free-agent market at closer. Player Page for David Robertson, Zach Britton, Adam Ottavino and Cody Allen are among the options. Kelvin Herrera and Joakim Soria could likely be had at a modest price.
In November, the Sox re-signed World Series MVP Steve Pearce. Shortly before the Winter Meetings, Dombrowski brought back flame-throwing righty Nathan Eovaldi on a four-year, $68 million contract.
Since the Winter Meetings ended last week, the Sox have made some smaller-scale moves, agreeing to terms with righty starter Erasmo Ramirez on a Minor League contract that includes an invite to Spring Training. The club also agreed to terms on a Minor League deal with righty reliever Zach Putnam, who missed all of 2018 following Tommy John surgery. Putnam also has an invite to Spring Training, and he is expected to compete for a spot in Boston's bullpen.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.