Craig Kimbrel Rejects $17.9 Million Qualifying Offer from #RedSox.

Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski announced on Monday that Craig Kimbrel has officially rejected his qualifying offer, making him a free agent.

This news may not come as a surprise to some, but it does leave the World Series champions without a closer, for now.

If Kimbrel does choose to sign elsewhere this winter, such as with the Atlanta Braves or Philadelphia Phillies, that particular club will owe Boston a compensatory pick in next year’s draft, which is set to land somewhere after the fourth round.

The Red Sox extended the QO with a value of $17.9 million to Kimbrel on November 2nd, giving the seven-time All-Star 10 days to either accept or reject.

With this rejection, Kimbrel will more than likely become one of the highest paid relievers in all of baseball, joining the likes of Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen and Yankees ninth-inning man Aroldis Chapman, whose current deals have a combined worth of $166 million over 10 total years, per Spotrac.

Over the course of the GM meetings in Carlsbad, Calif. this past week, Kimbrel’s agent, David Meter, pitched his client as, “the best closer of all-time,” so you can expect the Alabama native to seek out a hefty pay-day in the coming weeks.

Given the very real possibility the Red Sox decide to not commit that much to their closer for the past three seasons, we could be looking at Matt Barnes, or even Ryan Brasier as ninth inning options in 2019.

Dombrowski made clear on Nov. 1st that if Kimbrel were to leave, “We do think that we do have a situation where internally we have a couple of candidates to do that – Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier are the top candidates.”

That remains to be seen, as there is still a slight possibility that the Red Sox retain the services of Kimbrel to remain their closer. But, given the way relief pitching appears to be trending, it would not be surprising if Dombrowski and/or Alex Cora would prefer a closer who could come on and pitch multiple innings in order to lock up wins.

In his three-year tenure with Boston, the 30-year-old Kimbrel seemed to struggle with this task regularly, as well as securing saves in tight, late-game situations at times.

If this is it for Kimbrel in a Red Sox uniform, it was certainly a memorable run. Three seasons, three All-Star team selections, an elite 2017, and a World Series championship in 2018.

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#RedSox Extend Qualifying Offer of $17.9 Million to Craig Kimbrel.

On Friday, NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich reported that the Red Sox had extended a qualifying offer to Craig Kimbrel.

The qualifying offer, which has a value of $17.9 million, also has an expiration date, as the right-handed Kimbrel now has 10 days or either accept or decline it.

Regardless of the decision the flame throwing closer makes, this moves seems to be a win-win for the Red Sox. Either they get their All-Star reliever back for another season on a rather expensive deal, or, if Kimbrel declines the QO and chooses to sign elsewhere, the Red Sox will receive a compensatory pick in next year’s MLB draft from that club.

According to MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince, “only five of the 73 players who have been extended qualifying offers since this system began in 2012 have accepted the offers.”

With that statistic in mind, I’m going to go ahead and Say Kimbrel will turn down the QO and opt for a long-term deal with a team willing to splurge on a closer.

Whether or not the Red Sox are willing to spend that much on a ninth-inning man has yet to be determined. But, from what I have gathered recently, and sound more and more likely that the club likes their internal options to take over that spot, such as Matt Barnes or Ryan Brasier.

In his third and potential final season with Boston, Kimbrel notched 42 saves to go along with a 2.74 ERA and 96 strikeouts over 62.1 innings pitched. He also made his third consecutive All-Star team and became a World Series champion for the first time in his career.

MLB free agency is set to begin this weekend. Stay tuned.