Red Sox manager Alex Cora will consider using Craig Kimbrel in the eighth inning

Associated Press
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New Red Sox manager Alex Cora said on Tuesday that he will consider using closer Craig Kimbrel in the eighth inning if a high-leverage situation presents itself, ESPN’s Scott Lauber reports.

Kimbrel, 29, pitched before the ninth inning just six times in 67 appearances last season and five times in 57 appearances in 2016, so this would mark a significant shift in his usage. We’ve seen, particularly in the last two postseasons, an evolution in bullpen usage which has included using closers in high-leverage situations before the ninth inning.

This past season, Kimbrel saved 35 games with a 1.43 ERA and a 126/14 K/BB ratio in 69 innings. It seems pretty smart to utilize that skill set in more important situations than absent-mindedly always using him in the ninth inning.

Gallegos agrees to $11M, 2-year contract with Cardinals

Atlanta Braves v St. Louis Cardinals
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ST. LOUIS – Reliever Giovanny Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed Monday to an $11 million, two-year contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said Monday before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”

He was obtained from the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.

He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.