Tyler Thornburg, Craig Kimbrel & the future of the Sox pen

Tyler Thornburg joins Craig Kimbrel to bolster the playoff ready Red Sox


The Sox picked up Tyler Thornburg via trade this offseason for a bit of a hefty price. The Brewers got Sox former 3rd baseman Travis Shaw, along with two prospects, Mauricio Dubon & Josh Pennington. Thornburg is getting paid $2.05 million and is eligible for arbitration after the 2017 year. Currently he’s serving as the primary set up man for closer Craig Kimbrel who is due for a better campaign after a bad one last year, is due to make $13 million each of the next two seasons. Thornburg will be headed back to the set up role for the Sox in ’17 after finishing up as the closer for Milwaukee last year.


The way I see it, one of two things will happen during the 2017 season. Option one, assuming everything is still going well in Beantown, the Red Sox would pick up Kimbrel’s option for 2018 after this season and will either let him go into free agency at the end of 2018 or trade him in addition to also giving Thornburg a contract extension in and around 4-5 years to be the new closer in Boston.


Option two, which is very unlikely, but if the Red Sox end up dealing with injuries and fall out of playoff contention, I don’t see his 2018 option being picked up. Kimbrel will likely get traded before the deadline and again give Thornburg a contract extension for 4-5 years. I feel that the reason they went out to get Thornburg was because they envisioned him being the future closer in Boston. If they can lock him up to a 4-5 year deal around $25-30 million, I’d see that as a major plus.


The way the Sox have spent money and traded away every major prospect tells me they’re in all-in win mode. After all, why else would you bring in Dave Dombrowski to be General Manager? If Dombrowski can’t deliver in the next 3-4 seasons in Boston, it’d be considered a major disappointment especially with the current team the way it is. If Tyler Thornburg and Craig Kimbrel can pitch close to the way that Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman pitch in New York, we’ll be in great shape for the 8th and 9th innings for 2017 road to October.

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports

Photo Credit: Gary Tanguay – CSNNE


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