Alex Cora Reveals Surprising Plan for Closer Role

Adam Taylor McKillop
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora revealed a surprising plan for the team's closer role.
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora revealed a surprising plan for the team's closer role. / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Last season was truly a tale of two halves for Boston Red Sox closer Matt Barnes. From a dominant first half converting 19-of-23 save chances and a 2.61 ERA to blowing up in the second half, so much so he was left off the ALCS roster.

Barnes had already secured a himself two-year, $18.75 million contract extension before the second-half struggles (6.48 ERA). That's certainly made the Red Sox closer situation more complicated. And with Adam Ottavino departing for the New York Mets in free agency, manager Alex Cora is left with a tough decision.

Red Sox Closer

It's clear Cora isn't ready to commit to anything yet, as he actually punted the decision with Boston's Opening Day looming on Friday.

Cora told Red Sox media that he "doesn't have a set closer to start the season."

Red Sox News

He did concede that his hope is for Barnes to pitch himself back into that role, but instead opting to leave it up for competition.

Competition, especially for MLB closers, is a a tricky route to take. Elite closers are known to be creatures of habit and thrive in the everyday responsibilities of that role. There's a chance this brings out the best in Barnes, but a distinct possibility of this situation blowing up.

Some other names in the fold for Boston's closer role are Garrett Whitlock or Jake Diekman (a left-handed option). Whitlock pitched to a stellar 1.96 ERA across 46 appearances last year while Diekman touts a career 3.73 ERA while pitching late in games.

The Boston Red Sox eye a season-opening series against archival New York Yankees. Boston is a +138 underdog according to FanDuel Sportsbook's MLB Opening Day odds.

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Adam Taylor McKillop is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Adam Taylor also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username atmckillop. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.