The expectation around MLB is that the Boston Red Sox won’t re-sign closer Craig Kimbrel. But for the time being, they’re not making any moves until he lands somewhere. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, they’re playing a game of wait and see.
According to a source, it appears that the Red Sox are waiting to see what happens with Craig Kimbrel before making any moves in the relief market.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 21, 2018
Again though, it’s highly unlikely Kimbrel returns to Boston this winter despite them having the money to make that happen if they so choose. After all, the reliever is seeking a contract of no shorter than six years. For a 30-year-old player of his caliber, that doesn’t seem too bad. But being a reliever changes things quite a bit. It’s tough to bank on relievers being consistently good for long stretches of time. Six years would be quite the commitment.
But it’s not just that. Kimbrel is also seeking $100 million from his next contract. We don’t blame him in the slightest, of course. After all, he’s one of the best closers to ever pitch. It’s just hard to see any team putting that much money up for a relief pitcher. Last season though, he put together another fine campaign en route to a championship with the Red Sox. Across 62.1 innings of work, Kimbrel finished with a 2.74 ERA, 3.16 FIP and 2.58 DRA. His strikeout rate did drop nearly 11 percent, and yet he still struck out 38.9 percent of opposing batters. Really the only worry from last season is that his walk rate went from 5.5 percent in 2017 to 12.6 percent this past season, but that’s still close to his career average.
Needless to say, Kimbrel still has plenty left in the tank and he will make any team that signs him happy. It’s just difficult to see him landing anywhere given his current demands. And although the Red Sox have the money to do so if they so choose, they’ve probably taken themselves out of the running.