Craig Kimbrel is still a free agent. Arguably one of baseball’s best closers, Kimbrel has yet to ink a deal with a new team ahead of the 2019 regular season. And time seems to be running out.
So far, few teams have shown legitimate interest in Kimbrel at his asking price. And now, according to The Athletic’s Jim Bowden, a couple of more potential suitors are out of the Kimbrel sweepstakes.
There were reports that Kimbrel was going to consider sitting out the season if an offer of his liking didn’t come along. Though Kimbrel’s agent shot down the rumors at the time, it’s looking more and more possible that he’ll himself without a team at the start of the season. And with these two contenders reportedly out of the race for him, the chances for him to get a lucrative deal are slim.
It also doesn’t help Kimbrel’s cause that he had his share of issues in the 2018 postseason. In the Red Sox‘s run to the World Series, Kimbrel wasn’t his usual sharp self. He posted a 5.91 ERA and only logged 10 strikeouts compared to eight walks in 10 2/3 innings of work. Those numbers coupled with his reported high initial asking price of six years, $100 million could have scared off some teams that had interest.
Of course, that still doesn’t explain the complete lack of interest now, as Kimbrel, who turns 31 in May, is 14th on the all-time saves list with 333 and has been one of baseball’s best closers for the better part of the last decade.
For those wondering if the Red Sox could now get involved, the team has been adamant that bringing back Kimbrel is “extremely unlikely.” And as president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski reaffirmed in a recent interview with Alex Speier of The Boston Globe, the team simply isn’t looking for a big-money free agent in the bullpen.
“We’re always looking, which we will continue to do. If there’s one area we’ve always been looking to, it would be bullpen,” said Dombrowski. “I’ve always said we weren’t looking to make a big-dollar expenditure. I didn’t say we wouldn’t add. I don’t think that’s changed.”
At this point, the only obvious landing spot may be with the Philadelphia Phillies. They seem to still have interest in Kimbrel, but if they are the only team with legitimate interest, they won’t outbid themselves to get his services.
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