Currently, closer Craig Kimbrel, who last played for the Boston Red Sox, is one of the highest-profile unsigned free agents not named Bryce Harper. Considering Kimbrel has yet to find a new team as February draws to a close, rumors which surfaced earlier this weekend suggest that he might end up sitting out the entire 2019 MLB season if he doesn’t get a satisfactory contract offer. These rumors, however, were disputed by his agent, who discussed the matter on Saturday with Ken Rosenthal, of subscriber-only sports outlet The Athletic.
The original rumor was first shared by former MLB general manager and current The Athletic contributor Jim Bowden. On Saturday morning, he wrote on Twitter that Kimbrel’s asking price had yet to come down. Citing sources close to Kimbrel, Bowden added that the 30-year-old closer is believed to be considering sitting out the 2019 season “if he doesn’t get close to his perceived value.”
Per NESN, Kimbrel first entered free agency hoping to receive a contract in the range of six years and $100 million. The publication further speculated about the possibility he won’t get the contract he desires due to the “stagnant” state of MLB’s free agent market at the moment.
Later on in the day, Bowden’s fellow Athletic contributor Ken Rosenthal took to Twitter, where he quoted a statement from Kimbrel’s agent, David Meter, denying the earlier rumors about his client’s plans.
“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.”
As noted by Sporting News, Craig Kimbrel finished the 2018 MLB season with 42 saves for the Boston Red Sox, bringing his total over the last three seasons to 108. He also posted an ERA of 2.74. Despite these solid numbers, the publication added that the Red Sox have already confirmed their lack of interest in re-signing the nine-year veteran, who could end up inking a “record-setting” contract for a closer if his demands are met.
Kimbrel is not the only highly-regarded pitcher who remains unsigned at the time of writing. As reported on Saturday by The Inquisitr, Dallas Keuchel is also searching for a new MLB home and has been linked to teams such as the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres in recent days. Most recently, The Athletic‘s Rosenthal reported that Keuchel, who had previously played seven seasons for the Houston Astros, is being eyed by the Padres despite his being an apparent “longshot” to sign with the team.