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.