While not drawing as much attention as the free agent sagas of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, the fate of closer Craig Kimbrel has been one of baseball's most curious off-season storylines.
In the past week, Red Sox ownership has dubbed a Kimbrel return "extremely unlikely" but another report speculated that Machado's signing with the Padres could lead the closer back to Boston. Now, former Reds and Nationals GM Jim Bowden, an analyst for The Athletic and Sirius XM radio, reports that Kimbrel may sit out the season:
According to multiple GMs Craig Kimbrel asking price has still not come down and sources close to Kimbrel think he will consider sitting out the year if he doesn’t get close to his perceived value.— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) February 23, 2019
Kimbrel's agent told The Athletic and FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal that the report is "utterly false."
Craig Kimbrel’s agent, David Meter, on the report that Kimbrel is considering sitting out the season: “The report is wholly inaccurate and Craig looks forward to signing a new contract in the near future. Any report pertaining to his not playing this season is utterly false.”— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 23, 2019
Kimbrel, 31, had 42 saves for the Red Sox last season and is 14th on the all-time saves list with 333. He was reported to be initially seeking a six-year, $100 million deal this offseason, but like Machado and Harper, found few takers.
The Red Sox made a $17 million qualifying offer to him in order to guarantee draft-pick compensation. As spring training games begin, the man with 155 saves in his past three seasons in Boston remains without a team.
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