Red Sox

MLB Rumors: Here are Craig Kimbrel's latest contract demands

USA TODAY Sports photo

MLB Rumors: Here are Craig Kimbrel's latest contract demands

The 2019 MLB season is in full swing, and Craig Kimbrel still doesn't have a team.

It's bizarre seeing one of the best closers of all time still on the market, especially when you consider the number of teams in need of bullpen help. But according to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, Kimbrel's asking price remains far too high. As recently as late March, the 2018 World Series Champion has asked for a five-year deal worth approximately $100 million.

Bowden writes:

"When the market didn’t develop for Kimbrel like [Kimbrel's agent David Meter] thought it would, he stuck to his guns and, even as late as March, was still seeking a five-year pact in the $100 million range.  It was a clear miscalculation of Kimbrel’s true market value, and not consistent with the actual offers or ranges teams had given him."

Kimbrel was linked to Milwaukee as a potential destination at the beginning of the season, but those talks seem to have cooled down. The Brewers could use a presence in the back of their 'pen alongside Josh Hader with Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress both injured. Of course, if those reported contract demands are accurate, it's easy to see why they'd go in a different direction.

Saturday evening, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported figures for Kimbrel that are different than Bowden's, and they're far more reasonable:

Kimbrel posted a 2.74 ERA with a 0.99 WHIP, 96 strikeouts and 31 walks over 62 1/3 innings for the Red Sox last year. Once he brings his price down a notch, there's no reason he shouldn't be able to find a home.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

MLB odds: Red Sox star Rafael Devers among favorites to lead league in hits

MLB odds: Red Sox star Rafael Devers among favorites to lead league in hits

Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers is one of the best young players in Major League Baseball.

Devers made his MLB debut in 2017 and has steadily improved each of the last two years. His first full season came in Boston's historic 2018 season when he batted .240 with 21 home runs and 66 RBI in 120 games. Devers was part of a Red Sox lineup that helped pave the way for a franchise-record 108 wins and a World Series championship.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

The 23-year-old's breakout campaign came last year. He set careers with a .311 batting average, 32 homers, 115 RBI, 129 runs scored and 201 hits. Those 201 hits were the second-most in baseball, trailing only Kansas City Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield's 206.

Oddsmakers are expecting another fantastic offensive season from Devers, who is among the betting favorites to lead the MLB in hits during the shortened 60-game season.

Here are the latest odds for the MLB hits leader, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook:

Jose Altuve, Astros: +1200
Nolan Arenado, Rockies: +1200
Whit Merrifield, Royals: +1200
Rafael Devers, Red Sox: +1300
D.J. LeMahieu, Yankees: +1500
Francisco Lindor, Indians: +1500
Ketel Marte, Diamondbacks: +1500
Ozzie Albies, Braves: +2000
Trea Turner, Nationals: +2000
Tim Anderson: White Sox: +2200

Getting a fast start is even more important in a shortened season because catching the leaders is obviously more difficult when there are fewer games. Devers has not started fast in each of the last two years. He batted .258 in April in 2018 and .282 in April last season.

The middle of the season is when Devers really took off in 2019. He collected 39 hits and batted a season-high .358 in July. If Devers is able to rediscover that form in the summer's hottest months, he should rank among the MLB's hit leaders throughout 2020 and have a tremendous chance at finishing above his peers.

2020 MLB schedule: When and where Red Sox will play Yankees this season

2020 MLB schedule: When and where Red Sox will play Yankees this season

Major League Baseball's most historic rivalry will see another 10 regular season games played in 2020.

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees will square off 10 times during the shortened regular season. Each of the American League East teams will play 10 games apiece versus division rivals and the remaining 20 matchups against National League East opponents. 

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

The first series between the Red Sox and Yankees this season will take place from July 31 through Aug. 2 at Yankee Stadium. In fact, seven of the 10 games between these rivals will be played in New York. 

Here are the dates and locations for all 10 of the Red Sox-Yankees matchups during the 2020 regular season:

  • July 31-Aug. 2: at Yankee Stadium
  • Aug. 14-17: at Yankee Stadium
  • Sept. 18-20: at Fenway Park

Playing most of these games in the Bronx is far from ideal for the Red Sox, but it's hard for the league to make it an even (or close to even) split when there are fewer games and minimizing travel is a priority.

The Yankees are among the favorites to win the 2020 World Series. In fact, oddsmakers at DraftKings Sportsbook have made the Yankees the betting favorite to win the AL pennant this season. New York also is right behind the Los Angeles Dodgers with the second-best odds to win the World Series. The Yankees have not reached the World Series since 2009, which also is the year of their last championship.

The Red Sox last won the World Series in 2018, and they are not expected to be a contender in 2020. Boston has the third-best odds to win the AL East and the sixth-highest odds to claim the AL pennant. Suspect starting pitching depth and a shaky bullpen are two concerns for the Red Sox entering the season.

Anything can happen, though, especially in a shortened season during which each game will carry greater importance. A good record against the rival Yankees could go a long way in the Red Sox having a chance at clinching a postseason berth in late September.