According to several media outlets, Craig Kimbrel is reportedly seeking a six-year contract worth up to $100 million in free agency this winter.
That would be a record deal for a closer, one fit for, “the best closer of all time,” according to Kimbrel’s agent David Meter.
Seven weeks after winning the World Series, the Red Sox find themselves in need of some help out of the bullpen in 2019, even more so now with Joe Kelly reportedly inking a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The market for Kimbrel remains to be seen thus far into the offseason. The Philadelphia Phillies seem like the ideal suitor based on their need for a closer and their willingness to spend big, but nothing has formulated on that front to this point outside of some speculation.
If the Phillies were not to splurge on the flame-throwing right-hander and pursue an alternative, then that could ultimately give the Red Sox a chance to retain the services of their three-time All-Star.
Use JD Martinez as a prime example in this case. Prior to signing with Boston this past February, the Miami native was reportedly seeking a mega-deal in free agency for months.
Granted, Martinez still got paid, but the terms agreed upon were more team friendly than initially thought.
So, with that in mind, let’s say Kimbrel remains a free agent through the winter months, holding out in hopes of receiving a hefty contract offer.
Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski has already stated that the club will wait the reliever market out.
“At this time of year, if you’re going to sign somebody, you’re going to be aggressive and try to make it happen with big dollars,” Dombrowski said at the Baseball Winter Meetings last week. “We’re not at that point in the reliever market.”
Given the fact that Dombrowski has already doled out $68 million to RHP Nathan Eovaldi earlier in the month, a reunion with Kimbrel for a steep price seems unlikely now, but things could change once Spring Training begins to loom.
Take into consideration that the 30-year-old presumably knows the Red Sox organization inside and out. The city, the culture, the media. That’s all covered if Kimbrel remains in Boston
Having been with the club since 2016, Kimbrel, albeit shaky at times, has posted quality numbers in Boston and has maintained his status as one of the more elite relievers in all of baseball.
If the demand for the Alabama native is not as hyped as initially thought, then perhaps Craig Kimbrel will be taking the mound in a Red Sox uniform once again in 2019.