Boston Red Sox: 3 candidates to replace Matt Barnes as team’s closer

Matt Barnes #32 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Matt Barnes #32 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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Boston Red Sox
Adam Ottavino #0 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Boston Red Sox closer candidate No. 2: Adam Ottavino

Adam Ottavino has developed himself into quite the setup man, but has never really taken a full closer role. Throughout his 11 year career, Ottavino only has 27 career saves, and eight of them have come this season. But he may just be Boston’s best bet to close out games at this point in time.

Ottavino has had an uneven first season with the Sox. He’s had stretches where he has looked unhittable, using his deadly slider to make opposing hitters look like fools. He’s also had stretches where he has shown a complete lack of command, and promptly tossed games away.

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But regardless of their inconsistencies, Barnes and Ottavino posed a deadly duo at the back of the bullpen throughout the first half of the season. With Barnes now faltering, it may be time for the two to switch roles.

For the most part, Ottavino has been solid in the month of August. He’s only given up two runs through 8.1 innings, which is certainly much better than Barnes has done this month. Given his experience in late inning situations, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to expect Ottavino to be able to make the transition from the setup role to closer.

Similar to Robles however, there is risk involved with Ottavino here. While it hasn’t been as frequent as other guys in the pen, Ottavino has been inconsistent on the season. When he’s not on, it gets ugly, and that’s an easy way to throw away close contests.

Despite his occasional struggles, Ottavino is probably the top candidate to replace Barnes. He’s already shown a level of comfort in those situations considering he has eight saves, and it would probably be a smooth transition should it be implemented. Yet while Ottavino is probably the most likely option to replace Barnes, he’s almost certainly not the best option to fill the closer role.