Boston Red Sox (-13)
Well, it’s not too difficult to see why the defending World Champs are expected to take a nosedive in bullpen rankings: they lost two significant contributors and didn’t make any compelling replacements.
In fact, they didn’t make any major-league signings to replace Joe Kelly or Craig Kimbrel. These two hurlers were important because manager Alex Cora went to them the most — Kelly and Kimbrel combined to toss more than 120 of Boston’s 587.1 total bullpen innings in 2018.
Matt Barnes is expected to take on a more significant role for Boston this year. He’ll be looking to improve upon his 36.2% strikeout rate and 14.5% swinging-strike rate, numbers that have gotten better each year since 2015. But still, it’s hard to watch Dave Dombrowski not find a way to bring Kimbrel back, who is still hanging out on the open market.
Of course, it’ll be next-to-impossible for the right-hander to sign his next contract anywhere if he continues to demand something in the neighborhood of five or six years and $90-100 million.