MLB Rumors: Free Agent Closer Craig Kimbrel Has No Plans To Sign One-Year Contract, Per ‘The Athletic’

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A new month has just started, and former Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel is still unemployed and still waiting to sign a new contract as a free agent. The latest update on Kimbrel’s status, however, suggests that he might not be as close as previously reported to inking a deal, as the 30-year-old pitcher doesn’t appear to be interested in signing a short-term contract.

Citing Ken Rosenthal’s Tuesday report for subscriber-only outlet The Athletic, NBC Sports Boston reported on Wednesday morning that Kimbrel doesn’t “desire” a one-year contract and would rather end his protracted free agency by signing a multi-year deal. The latter outlet did not specify how much the seven-time All-Star closer is supposedly asking for but noted that Kimbrel was originally looking for a five-year contract that would pay him in the $100 million range. His asking price has gone down in the months since then, but NBC Sports Boston stressed that the former Red Sox star “seemingly is against being a one-year rental.”

While MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi wrote on April 16 that Craig Kimbrel seemed to be “closer” to making a decision on where to sign for the 2019 MLB season, with the Milwaukee Brewers among the teams that had negotiated with Kimbrel’s agent, David Meter, Rosenthal’s report for The Athletic suggests that the veteran reliever might be willing to hold out even longer, if need be.

According to Rosenthal, Kimbrel and fellow free-agent pitcher Dallas Keuchel might choose to remain unsigned until after this year’s MLB Amateur Draft, which is scheduled to take place on June 3. If that happens, their former teams — the Red Sox for Kimbrel and the Houston Astros for Keuchel — would no longer be eligible to receive draft picks as compensation if they ink a deal with another club. That could make both free agent pitchers the “equivalent of a trade deadline pickup for a contender,” as further noted by NBC Sports Boston.

Aside from the Brewers, a number of other teams, including the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins, are reportedly hoping to sign Kimbrel. However, it doesn’t appear likely that the Boston Red Sox will be bringing him back months after he rejected their qualifying offer and officially became a free agent in the offseason. According to NBC Sports Boston, Ryan Brasier, who has saved six games and compiled a 1.32 ERA in 14 appearances for the Red Sox, per Baseball-Reference, looks to be stepping up as a reliable new option at closer for Boston.