Chicago Cubs

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

craig_kimbrel.jpg
File photo

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.

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.

Chris Sale on Craig Kimbrel: 'Everyone in this clubhouse would have liked to have him back'

craig_kimbrel.jpg
File photo

Chris Sale on Craig Kimbrel: 'Everyone in this clubhouse would have liked to have him back'

Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel both had themselves a nice day on Wednesday.

Sale pitched a complete-game shutout vs. the Royals that included his second immaculate inning of the season. As for Kimbrel, he finally found a team. After sitting out the first couple months of the season, the former Red Sox closer agreed to a three-year deal with the Chicago Cubs.

Following his stellar outing, Sale said while he and the rest of the team would have welcomed Kimbrel back with open arms, he's happy to hear the news on his ex-teammate.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters in Kansas City after the game that he sent Kimbrel a text and congratulated his former closer on his new deal. “Good for him. Happy for him. Finally, he can go out there and do what he does,” Cora said. “It’s a great organization. They’re in a good spot. I’m very happy that he was able to finish the deal and go play baseball.”

The Red Sox never showed much interest in bringing Kimbrel back, but there's no doubting they could use someone of his caliber in the back end of the bullpen. Instead, they'll likely be shopping for relievers around the trade deadline.

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.

Report: Craig Kimbrel to sign with Cubs

usatsi_11539620_133468180_lowres.jpg
File photo

Report: Craig Kimbrel to sign with Cubs

Craig Kimbrel finally is off the free-agent market.

The former Red Sox closer is in agreement on a three-year deal worth close to $45 million with the Chicago Cubs, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Rosenthal reported earlier on Wednesday that the Cubs were "pushing hard" for Kimbrel. Now, they add a seven-time All-Star to a bullpen that certainly could use the help.

With the Kimbrel sweepstakes coming to an end, that means the attention shifts to former Cy Young award winner Dallas Keuchel. The Yankees reportedly are the favorites to land the ex-Astros starter.

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.