Red Sox

MLB Rumors: Craig Kimbrel was close to signing with this AL East team

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MLB Rumors: Craig Kimbrel was close to signing with this AL East team

Craig Kimbrel agreed to a deal with the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, but the ex-Red Sox closer nearly ended up back in the American League East.

The Tampa Bay Rays were the runner-up in the Kimbrel sweepstakes, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. They reportedly offered Kimbrel two deals: one for two years, $31 million and a club option, and another for three years, $39 million.

Ultimately, Kimbrel ended up in Chicago's North Side on a three-year, $45 million contract with a fourth-year option.

It comes as no surprise Kimbrel was sought after once draft pick compensation no longer was a factor. What is a surprise, however, is the Rays' willingness to shell out the cash for the seven-time All-Star despite having the lowest payroll in all of baseball.

Tampa Bay, which currently sits in second place in the AL East, should be just fine without Kimbrel. The bullpen owns the third-best ERA in the majors with Jose Alvarado, Ryne Stanek, Yonny Chirinos, and ex-Red Sox Jalen Beeks all playing prominent roles in its success.

Although they missed out on Kimbrel, expect the Rays to be buyers once the July 31 trade deadline gets closer.

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Who are the best catchers in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best catchers in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

For a position so essential to baseball — no player handles the ball more often — the catching ranks in Red Sox history are surprisingly shallow.

Multiple seasons belong to players like Johnny Peacock, Pinch Thomas, Hick Cady, Roxy Walters, and Muddy Ruel, names that sound like they should belong to bouncers before big leaguers.

The dearth of catching talent may partly explain why the Red Sox routinely featured lousy starting rotations, at least until Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, and Co. arrived to give the club perennial Cy Young contenders no matter who squatted behind the plate.

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Had this list extended to 10 instead of five, some of the names would surprise you. Wally Schang, anyone? How about Bill Carrigan? There'd definitely be room for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Anyway, the overall talent level may be thin, but the top five are legit, with three All-Stars and two Hall of Famers.

Click here for the top five catchers in Red Sox history.

Dave Roberts says former Red Sox Mookie Betts 'loves' being a Dodger

Dave Roberts says former Red Sox Mookie Betts 'loves' being a Dodger

Are Dave Roberts' latest comments about Mookie Betts just wishful thinking or reality?

The Los Angeles Dodgers manager said some interesting things about his new right fielder on ESPN's "The Sedano Show" Monday, including that he knows how Betts feels about being in Dodger blue.

I think him being in spring training with us — the relationship I have with him personally, and I think some players too, and coaches — it feels like he’s already played a season with us, which is strange. … Mookie’s gotta do what’s best for him and his family once that time does present itself, but I know that he loves being a Dodger.

After just eight spring training games, Betts "loves" being a Dodger? It seems like a stretch, but maybe getting out of Boston was that much of a relief for the 27-year-old.

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With the 2020 season on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak, it's possible we never see Betts play a regular-season game for the Dodgers. Major League Baseball and the MLB Players' Association agreed on a settlement that would let all pending free agents hit the open market if the coming season is canceled.

Betts, the 2018 American League MVP and World Series champion, likely will test free agency come 2021, and the Dodgers will have to pay a hefty price to keep him in L.A. 

If Dodgers ownership and team president Andrew Friedman decide to shell out the cash, then Betts will probably "love" being a Dodger even more.