Much like fellow standout pitcher Dallas Keuchel, former Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel remains without an MLB team with close to one month having passed since Opening Day. There are some teams that have reportedly shown some recent interest in the 30-year-old right-hander, including the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets, and as a new report suggests, the Mets could consider signing him to a contract provided that he agrees to one condition.
On Saturday afternoon, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal provided his latest update on the Kimbrel situation, noting on Twitter that the Mets and the Brewers are among the teams hoping to sign the seven-time All-Star to a contract. Rosenthal added that there could be a catch with the Mets — as the team already has Edwin Diaz at closer, Kimbrel would have to be open to “[pitching] in any role” and not just picking up the save in the ninth inning as he has done for most of his MLB career.
As recalled by NESN, Craig Kimbrel was reportedly expecting to sign a long-term contract valued at around $100 million after he declined the Red Sox’s qualifying offer in the offseason but has since indicated that he is amenable to signing a cheaper three-year contract. On the other hand, the outlet noted that Kimbrel, who was described as someone who isn’t “super flexible” when negotiating his contract, has no plans of accepting a one-year deal.
Rosenthal’s latest tweet on Kimbrel came a few days after it was reported that the pitcher was “moving closer” to making a decision on where to sign. According to MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, the Brewers were, at the time of his report, strongly considering signing Kimbrel, but tying their decision on whether or not to add him to their roster to the health and performance of veteran reliever Jeremy Jeffress, who has recently been dealing with shoulder problems. Given this condition, Morosi added that the situation was “sufficiently fluid” at the time, with no team emerging as a “clear favorite” to sign the closer to a contract.
According to MassLive, it’s hardly likely that Kimbrel will accept a role as the Mets’ setup man, considering Diaz’s strong performance in the first few weeks of the 2019 MLB season and the fact that Kimbrel has been a full-time closer since the 2011 campaign. As shown on his Baseball-Reference player page, Diaz has struck out 14 batters in just 7 2/3 innings pitched and compiled a total of seven saves in nine appearances this season, with an ERA of 1.17. Kimbrel, meanwhile, has a career ERA of 1.91 and 333 saves since entering the majors in 2010.