Yesterday, MLB players who were given a qualifying offer by their former teams, had to make a decision on whether to accept the one year, $17.9 million dollar deal or risk it in free agency. Every player, minus the Dodgers Hyun Jin Ryu, chose to decline their offers and test free agency. One of those players happened to be former Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, and it is likely the end of his tenure in Boston.
Kimbrel has been a staple of the Red Sox bullpen since 2016 when he was acquired from the Padres. He was the first major move that Dave Dombrowski made for the Red Sox, and it was a pretty good one.
Over three years in Boston, the man who would come to be known as “Dirty Craig: would rack up 108 saves and post an ERA of 2.44 while striking out 14.9 batters per 9. He helped the team to three consecutive AL East division titles and was a part of this year’s World Series championship. However, this past season may have killed Kimbrel’s chances of staying in Boston, as he had a 5.91 ERA during this years playoff run, looking completely void of confidence the entire way.
I believe the only way Kimbrel would’ve been able to stick around in Beantown was taking the qualifying offer, given that it would’ve made him the second highest paid reliever in the MLB after Wade Davis ($18 million) in 2019.
While Kimbrel’s agent is reported going around telling potential suitors that he is, statistically, the best closer of all time, Sox fans, as well as the team itself, know that Kimbrel isn’t worth more than what was offered.
With the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo suggesting that the Sox are not willing to get into a bidding war over the hard-throwing righty, and teams like the Phillies and Cardinals apparently ready to break the bank, Kimbrel’s time in Boston has likely come to an end.
If this is truly the end of Craig Kimbrel in Boston, which I’ll say again, it probably is, then I will extend a thank you to the man personally. Thank you Craig Kimbrel. Thank you for all the electric fastballs, for all the funny stare in’s, for all the saves, for all the heart attacks, and thank you, most of all, for that sweet beard.
More details to come.
Photo By Frank Franklin II/ AP Photos