It’s no secret the Red Sox have had trouble finding a closer. Finishing out games has never been more of an issue for Boston. The post-Craig Kimbrel era hasn’t left fans feeling confident late in ball games whatsoever. So what can be done about that?
Well, you have to choose the lesser of two evils.
One is going over another luxury tax, which comes with tax penalties and draft pick loss implications. Getting a closer that comes with a bigger price tag may cost loss in prospects, but hurt the team long run with money and prospects. The other? Giving up more prospects for a controllable closer with a cheap contract.
The latter of the two is my preference. Getting a closer would allow Nathan Eovaldi to move back into the rotation, which would shore up multiple holes with one move. This team is simply just a piece or two away from being the squad they were in 2018. That’s been proven this weekend against New York.
So who are some potential targets, who are cheap and controllable, that the Red Sox can afford?
It has widely been reported that the Red Sox are interested in the Met’s closer. Even as recent as Sunday afternoon, Buster Olney confirmed Boston’s interest.
Diaz has struggled in 2019 as a whole. However, he hasn’t given up a run in the last couple of weeks, and he’s shown signs of returning to his form of 2019. The Mets did a lot to get Diaz on their squad this offseason. So with that said, it won’t be easy to get him. Especially if they feel they’re buyers after the Marcus Stroman deal.
So it may take one of the Red Sox three most intriguing prospects. Bobby Dalbec, Triston Casas and Bryan Mata. All still young, with very high Major League upside. The Mets should like what they see in all three.
Even if it takes a couple of those guys to get it done, or one of them with Jarren Duran, I would pull the trigger.
Diaz is only making roughly 600k this season, keeping Boston well under the luxury tax. He’s also controlled through 2022, giving the Red Sox plenty of time to win with him under contract.
If the Mets are willing to part with a couple prospects for their closer, Boston should be willing to pay up.
The Pirates stopper is definitely the most consistent name of the three. He has three straight season of a sub-3 ERA and 20+ saves, along with a career 2.66 FIP and 155 ERA+. Whether you like the new age stats or the old, Felipe is an interesting addition for Boston.
He’s pitched in big games and big moments and never seems to look shaky: A mentality fit for Boston. His walks are way down this year, as his control seems to have balanced out with his velocity.
Vazquez is another low cost option for Boston, as far as salary and future control goes. He’s due less than $2 Million for the remainder of 2019, and has another couple years at a low price before two more team-friendly options in 2022 and 2023.
Similar to Diaz, lots of control will require lots of prospects.
Seeing as Vazquez’s cheap contract takes him right through his prime, and the Pirates are relatively competitive, it may take even more of a haul then the one for Diaz.
Two of the big four prospects at the very least would likely have to go Pittsburgh’s way, along with another top ten prospect. A major league piece like Brock Holt or Marco Hernandez could also be used as bait for Vazquez.
Diaz would be my first swing if I’m Dombrowski, but Vazquez would be a terrific option at the backend.
Giles is having the best season of the three. He has a 1.54 in 35 innings with a FIP to match. His 14.9 K/9 is the highest of his career by far, and he seems to just be hitting his stride.
The Red Sox have always been a thorn in the side of Giles, with 2019 being no different.
He’s given up five of his six earned runs to Boston this year. Can you imagine his numbers if he didn’t have to face our lineup?
Another controlled closer, Giles would be under Boston’s control until 2021. He wouldn’t require quite the return that Vazquez would, but slightly more than Diaz. If Bryan Mata and Josh Ockimey had to become Blue Jays, along with another prospect, in order for Giles to be our closer, I would make it happen.