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Inbox: How will Sox construct 'pen for 2019?

Beat reporter Ian Browne answers fans' questions
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

Do the Red Sox see Brad Brach as an affordable solution to replace the loss of Joe Kelly? He did well at Fenway against us and in the American League East in general. Or is it more likely the Sox will go to camp with the arms we already have?
-- Jon L., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

I still think president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski will find an arm or two this offseason. There are a lot of them on the market. Brach is the kind of guy who might get passed over for some of the bigger names. Brach actually struggled for the Orioles last season (4.85 ERA in 42 appearances) but regained his form down the stretch for the Braves (1.52 ERA in 27 appearances). He is AL East-tested, which is an important factor. I'd endorse this move.

Do the Red Sox see Brad Brach as an affordable solution to replace the loss of Joe Kelly? He did well at Fenway against us and in the American League East in general. Or is it more likely the Sox will go to camp with the arms we already have?
-- Jon L., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

I still think president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski will find an arm or two this offseason. There are a lot of them on the market. Brach is the kind of guy who might get passed over for some of the bigger names. Brach actually struggled for the Orioles last season (4.85 ERA in 42 appearances) but regained his form down the stretch for the Braves (1.52 ERA in 27 appearances). He is AL East-tested, which is an important factor. I'd endorse this move.

How do the Sox feel about reclamation projects like a Kelvin Herrera or an AJ Ramos?
-- Tyler C., Boston

I love the idea of Herrera. He had his share of injury problems last year, but also had moments of dominance, especially before the trade to the Nationals. Herrera has his share of experience at closer and as a setup man, giving the Red Sox options. And his price should be affordable. Ramos struggled in every way last year. I'm not sure how he would help.

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Any chance the Sox platoon the closer role for the majority of the season, then slide Nathan Eovaldi there for the rest of the year?
-- Chris P., York, Penn.

I don't see the Red Sox going with a committee at closer; that's the one thing Dombrowski has ruled out. They'd like to sign someone this offseason to do that job, or have someone earn it in Spring Training.

Will Chris Sale be medically evaluated over the winter? As the ace, his long-term health is integral to a repeat.
-- Stan T., Springfield, Mass.

From what Dombrowski said recently, this is a normal offseason for Sale. The team has no more concerns about his health. Whatever was troubling him during the summer seems to have subsided. The Red Sox are looking for ways to modify Sale's approach to make sure he stays healthy from start to finish.

On a recent visit to Cooperstown, I noticed that both Jimmie Foxx and Lefty Grove were wearing Red Sox caps. Since they entered the Hall of Fame as Red Sox players and are among the greatest players of all time, they meet the criteria for having their numbers retired in right field at Fenway Park. Isn't it time to right a wrong and retire Foxx's No. 3 and Grove's No. 10?
-- Brian C., New Salem, Mass.

Foxx played less than half of his career with the Red Sox and didn't play on any championship-caliber teams while in Boston. Grove was 105-62 with a 3.34 ERA with the Sox. That doesn't sound like "number retired" stats to me. I'm guessing that both players have the "B" on their Hall of Fame plaques because the Athletics essentially sold both of them to the Red Sox, and they probably had hard feelings about that.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

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