The Red Sox have a very clear primary need as the Hot Stove heats up. With Joe Kelly heading to Los Angeles (to team up with the players he embarrassed in the World Series) and Craig Kimbrel all but gone, the Red Sox are in desperate need for late inning relievers. Adam Ottavino (6-4, 2.42 ERA) and David Robertson (8-3, 3.23 ERA) have been heavily rumored options for the defending World Series Champs, but we are overlooking one extremely talented and accomplished young pitcher.
Kelvin Herrera is in the midst of his first offseason as a free agent and has not garnered much talk thus far. Last season, Herrera posted a 2.44 ERA in 44.1 IP between Kansas City and Washington. His season ended abruptly when he tore a ligament in his left foot in late August. That said, he should be at full health by Spring Training, ready to build on what was a successful season for the reliever.
Herrera is a two time All-Star that can throw 100 from the right-side and already has a World Series ring as a key cog in the 2015 Royals Championship. He has a career 2.82 ERA, as well as the tools and experience to be the next closer in Boston. Herrera had 17 saves in 2018 and has 60 career saves. Another important quality to a contender like the Red Sox is a clutch factor in the playoffs. Herrera has a career 1.26 ERA in 28.2 IP for in the postseason. He was a crucial part of the Royals World Series runs in 2014 and 2015. Another plus for Herrera is that he is entering his age 29 season, meaning he is still in his prime.
Usage in Boston:
The Red Sox should sign him along with another veteran like Ottavino or Robertson to lock up the late innings. Herrera could be a set up guy or a closer depending on who ends up in Boston. Barnes is slated to take one set up role, and the new guys may be competing for save opportunities with the Red Sox. The Twins are reportedly in pursuit of Herrera but overall he has not gotten the attention he deserves from Major League teams.
Scott Neville – Head Baseball Writer – WTF Sports