Craig Kimbrel
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Craig Kimbrel hasn’t lowered his asking price

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Free agent reliever Craig Kimbrel isn’t in any hurry to lower his asking price, reports Jim Bowden of The Athletic. Kimbrel parted ways with the Red Sox last November after declining a one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer, but has yet to find a team willing to meet his alleged six-year, $100+ million asking price.

Still, the clock is ticking down to Opening Day, and sooner or later someone is going to have to budge. Bowden doesn’t think that someone will be Kimbrel, however, and cites unnamed sources close to the reliever who believe he might even skip out on the 2019 season if he doesn’t receive an offer that approaches his “perceived value.”

Even if he decides to compromise on less lofty terms this spring, it’s not exactly clear which teams remain in the running for the 30-year-old’s services. The Red Sox have been all but ruled out at this point, and despite the perceived interest of the Braves, Twins, Nationals, and Phillies, no one has been linked to the Kimbrel in nearly a month. To be sure, the seven-time All-Star carries an undeniable track record and talent — most recently, with 42 saves and a 2.74 ERA, 4.5 BB/9, 13.9 SO/9, and 1.5 fWAR across 62 1/3 innings in 2018 — but given the nature of today’s free agent market, may be left hanging if he truly intends to hold out for a record-breaking deal.

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Update, 5:32 PM EST: Kimbrel’s agent, David Meter, told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that reports of the closer sitting out for the season were “wholly inaccurate” and added that “Craig looks forward to signing a new contract in the near future.” No specific teams — or contract terms — were indicated in the statement.

Astros’ Verlander to have elbow surgery, miss rest of season

Justin Verlander
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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video.

“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.

He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”

Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019.

“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.

“I truly believe everything that everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”

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