Craig Kimbrel won’t be coming back to the Red Sox. It’s not official yet, but at this point, the shock would be if he did stay in Boston.
Since winning the World Series – or in Kimbrel’s case, not losing it – the closer has been testing out the free agent market. And all indications point to him leaving. He wants a long-term, lucrative deal while he’s still young enough to get one, and thankfully, the Red Sox aren’t desperate enough to bite. That’s what happens when you win your fourth championship in fifteen years; you don’t have to spend the offseason scrambling. At least, not for Kimbrel. My Eovaldi Anxiety has reached peak levels and is still climbing.
Most of the rest of the league isn’t that desperate either. Teams like the Mariners and Orioles are in rebuild mode; they’re looking for young, cheap talent who will develop over the next few years, not aging risks. The Mets just traded for Edwin Diaz, who is five years younger than Kimbrel, and just had an incredible season with the most saves in MLB. Meanwhile, Kimbrel’s ERA nearly doubled from 2017, his strikeouts decreased, and his walks skyrocketed. This is all regular season talk FYI – I’m still too traumatized to talk about all the postseason games he almost gave away.
This makes how Kimbrel and his agents are going about this offseason even funnier, or sadder, really. Calling him the best closer of all time when he isn’t even the best Red Sox closer of all time is pretty bold. Asking for a 6-year contract when he just had one of, if not, the worst season of his career? I get that it’s their job to find him a new home and that you start with a big ask, but I doubt any team is desperate enough to bite.
He turned down the qualifying offer the Red Sox extended, and that was totally fine. Kimbrel is thirty, which is like 60 in athlete years; not old enough to die, not young enough to be worth it. I don’t fault him for trying to make the most of the playing years he has left, I just think what he’s asking for is pretty ludicrous. He’ll likely get three years, four if he’s lucky.
I’m grateful for his epic strikeouts, but not sorry to see the heart-attack inducing side of him leave. And after this postseason, I’m definitely okay with the Red Sox not giving him a massive, lengthy contract.
Thank u, next.
Photo: NBC Sports