Red Sox

Red Sox

As superstars like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper sign record-setting free agent contracts, Craig Kimbrel is still waiting for his payday.

The free-agent closer has been one of the biggest victims of a glacially-moving offseason, as teams seem unwilling to meet Kimbrel's lofty contract demands.

Just how dry is Kimbrel's market? Boston Red Sox utility man Brock Holt made a surprising admission Friday to the Boston Herald's Michael Silverman after catching up with his ex(?)-teammate earlier this offseason.

Holt said that when he got together with Kimbrel a month ago, he was stunned to learn that the free agent had yet to field an offer.

“ ‘I can’t even say yes to anyone because I don’t have an offer,’ ” is what Holt said Kimbrel told him back in Boston last month. And while Holt assumes Kimbrel has received an offer since then, he can’t be sure.

Part of the lack of action is on Kimbrel and his agent, who may need to drop their contract ask for teams to bite after initially demanding a six-year deal worth $100 million. It's also possible Kimbrel's agent has fielded calls from teams or had preliminary discussions without getting a formal offer.

But to Holt, Kimbrel's admission was disturbing nonetheless.

“The fact that we still have so many good players that haven’t signed is frustrating," Holt told Silverman. "If you’re a team, you want to put the best team on the field, and you’ve got guys like Craig Kimbrel out there who don’t have a job and you’re telling me you’re not going to be better with him on your team? So, it’s frustrating.”

 

Kimbrel turns 31 in late May, but he's still the top reliever on the market, a seven-time All-Star with a sparkling pedigree as one of the best closers ever.

So, who will sign him? The Minnesota Twins and Philadelphia Phillies reportedly have Kimbrel on their radar, while the Red Sox, despite insisting they've moved on, still can't be ruled out.

But the clock continues to tick on an elite free agent target with regular season baseball happening later this month.

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