Craig Kimbrel
Getty Images

Report: Craig Kimbrel lowers asking price

6 Comments

Free agent closer Craig Kimbrel may be willing to budge on his asking price after all, according to a report from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal on Saturday. Rosenthal revealed that Kimbrel is still seeking “a deal he believes to be fair,” one that might fall somewhere between the three-year, $39 million deal Zack Britton took with the Yankees this winter and the three-year, $52 million contract Wade Davis signed with the Rockies back in 2017.

Those figures are noted departures from the five-year, $100 million agreement Kimbrel and his agent, Dave Meter, were reportedly pursuing last month. They’ve supposedly received several legitimate offers from teams over the last few months, but nothing that appears to approach what Kimbrel might consider to be fair. And even if Kimbrel and Meter are willing to make this big of a concession, it’s not as if teams are lining up to sign the closer these days — no matter how much they might need him to bolster the back end of their bullpen.

As we’ve said here before, it would be a shame to see the 2019 season pass Kimbrel by. The former Red Sox hurler is a remarkable talent, as proven by his annual sub-3.00 ERA, lifetime 18.0 fWAR, ridiculous strikeout percentages, and seven All-Star nominations. It wasn’t long ago that he was in the running for a Cy Young Award, too. But, while his asking price may no longer be exorbitant, it’s unclear just how much playing time he’ll be willing to sacrifice in order to hold out for the multi-year deal he deserves.

Astros defend barring reporter from clubhouse

Getty Images
11 Comments

As we wrote about this morning, last night the Houston Astros, at the request of Justin Verlander, barred Detroit Free Press reporter Anthony Fenech from the clubhouse during Verlander’s media availability following the Tigers-Astros game. After Verlander was done talking to the press in the scrum setting — and after a call was placed to Major League Baseball about the matter — Fenech was allowed in.

As we noted, this was done in violation of agreements to which Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros and the Baseball Writers Association of America are parties. The agreements are meant to ensure full access to BBWAA-accredited reporters as long as they have not violated the terms of their credentials.  In no case do the clubs — and certainly not the players — have the right to bar access to BBWAA-accredited reporters. Indeed, the whole point of the BBWAA is to ensure such access and to ensure that teams cannot bar them simply because they are unhappy with their coverage or what have you.

This morning Verlander tweeted, obliquely, about “unethical behavior” on the part of Fenech that led to his request to the Astros to bar him. As we noted at the time, such an allegation — however interesting it might be — is of no consequence to the admission or barring of a reporter. If Fenech has acted unethically it’s a matter between him and his employer and, potentially, between him and the BBWAA. At the very least, if Verlander has a specific concern, it would be incumbent upon him or the Astros to take the matter up with either the Free Press or the BBWAA.

In light of all of this, it’s hard to make a case for Verlander’s request and the Astros’ honoring it. A few moments ago, however, the Astros released as statement on the matter which, basically, says, “so what?”

Which is to say, the Astros have made a decades-long agreement between the BBWAA and MLB regarding reporter access optional, because a player does not like a reporter who is covering him.  Someone without the power to alter the BBWAA-MLB relationship has just done so unilaterally. And they have done so in such a way that any player, should they decide they don’t like a reporter, will now presumably rely on as precedent. And, it should be noted, in doing so they gave at least some tacit credence to Verlander’s thus far unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations of unethical behavior on the part of Fenech.

It’s your move, Major League Baseball and BBWAA. Whatcha gonna do about it?