Nov. 2 is the day that officially marks the start of the offseason for every team across Major League Baseball. It is clear to see that the Boston Red Sox organization is not wasting any time in the reevaluation process for the 2018 season.
Left-handed starting ace Chris Sale, and right-hander reliever Craig Kimbrel are at the points in their contracts in which the team can either opt to keep, or drop them. Without any real surprise, the Red Sox front office opted to keep them both for the next season.
Kimbrel was just named the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year, and for great reason. The Alabama native had a near perfect season as the closer. He recorded 35 saves in his 67 relief appearances. He finished with a 1.43 ERA, and became the first pitcher in MLB history to record a four-strikeout inning, and an immaculate inning in the same season. That feat was accomplished in just under three weeks. He is going to be making $13 million next year, as opposed to the $11 million he made this season.
Chris Sale, without a doubt, was the most dominant pitcher in the majors this season. He became the first American League pitcher to record 300 punchouts in a single season since Pedro Martinez in 1999. He led the majors in K/9 (12.93), strikeouts (308), innings pitched (214.1) and FIP (2.45), all of which were career-highs for him.
Now as for people who will not be returning for the new year? Josh Rutledge and Robbie Ross Jr. It’s alright if those names do not sound familiar to you, as they only played in a combined 45 games this season, and both found themselves on the 60-day disabled list (hip and elbow respectively) to ring out the year.
Rutledge is a utility infielder who spent most of his time in Boston at shortstop, second and third base. He has been in the organization since 2015, but bouncing up and down between the minors and majors the entire time. He never really provided much of a spark offensively. During his brief stints in Boston, he tallied up a .252 batting average in 230 at-bats and contributed only 11 cumulative extra base hits. Those were via a home run, a triple and nine doubles.
Robbie Ross, a left-handed reliever from Lexington, Kentucky, joined the Red Sox in 2015 and never truly adapted to what was needed of him from his role. He has been working with 3.82 ERA, and a 1.33 WHIP. However, there is a potential chance that he may be re-signed to provide some extra depth in the bullpen.