Are things set up for Matt Barnes to take the job of Red Sox closer?

The Red Sox lost Joe Kelly (to the Dodgers) and may not retain Craig Kimbrel.

Matt Barnes Red Sox
Matt Barnes looks on during the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers. –Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes, one of the many early arrivals to JetBlue Park — about a week ahead of the official opening of Red Sox spring camp — says he hasn’t been told anything about the closer role and replacing Craig Kimbrel, who is an unsigned free agent. But if he is the anointed replacement, he seems ready to take that next step.

The Red Sox are selling it as a combination of Barnes and Ryan Brasier handling the late-inning roles. So far, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has not engaged in talks with Kimbrel and has seen several free agent relievers with closer experience go to other teams, holding firm that he will not spend a lot to obtain a closer, given Boston’s supersized payroll.


“I haven’t been told my role has changed at all, so I’m just trying to come in and get some work done,’’ said Barnes, who was one of 40-plus pitchers (major and minor leaguers) playing catch at one point Tuesday.


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