BOSTON -- The Red Sox on Thursday exercised their 2018 club options on lefty ace Chris Sale and stud closer Craig Kimbrel.
Sale and Kimbrel were Boston's best pitchers in 2017. In his first season with the Red Sox, Sale went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA while notching a career-high 308 strikeouts. Kimbrel converted 35 of his 39 save chances while posting a 1.43 ERA and registering 126 strikeouts in just 69 innings.
The option on Sale is for $12.5 million. Boston also holds a $13.5 million option on him for '19. Those reasonable salary figures played a major factor in the Red Sox sending two of their top prospects (Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech) to the White Sox for Sale last December.
Kimbrel is also a relative bargain, considering his level of performance, as his option will pay him $13 million. The right-hander will be a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, unless he signs an extension before that.
Hernandez, who had season-ending left shoulder surgery on May 26, could be an important player for the Red Sox early in 2018, as Dustin Pedroia will likely spend the first two months on the disabled list following left knee surgery.
Thornburg missed his entire first season for Boston with a right shoulder impingement, and the club hopes he can come back strong.
Wright made just five starts before undergoing left knee surgery that wiped away the rest of his 2017 season. With Eduardo Rodriguez sidelined for the early part of '18 due to right knee surgery, Wright will try to reclaim his spot in the rotation.
Outfielder Bryce Brentz and left-hander Williams Jerez were selected to the Major League roster from Triple-A Pawtucket. With Chris Young eligible for free agency, Brentz could get a chance to win a spot off the bench after having a strong 2017 at Pawtucket.
Left-hander Robbie Ross Jr. and infielder Josh Rutledge were both reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and outrighted from the Major League roster. Both players elected free agency.
The Red Sox's 40-man roster is now at 37.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.