Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays are still in communication with free agent closer Craig Kimbrel, for whatever that’s worth at this point in the season. Topkin doesn’t reveal exactly how far along any potential discussions between the two sides might be, but it’s probably safe to say the Rays aren’t close to offering a formal deal just yet.
Kimbrel, now approaching his age-31 season in the majors, has been linked to the Phillies, Braves, Nationals, and Brewers this spring, though no one team has emerged as a clear frontrunner so far. Previous reports from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman indicated that the right-hander was willing to lower his asking price from a five-year contract to a three-year deal, which may still be too hefty a commitment for some of his potential suitors.
Last season, the veteran righty earned his seventh career All-Star nomination, rounding out a three-year stint with the Red Sox and pitching to 42 saves with a 2.74 ERA, 4.5 BB/9, and 13.9 SO/9 across 62 1/3 innings of relief. There’s no question the Rays could stand to benefit from Kimbrel’s proven experience, even as they already boast the third-best bullpen in the majors (per FanGraphs). Like their competitors, however, they may be waiting to make a play for the free agent until the MLB amateur draft concludes on June 5 and they no longer need to sacrifice their third-highest draft pick to do so.
The owners meetings are going on in Arlington, Texas right now and something unusual is happening: the owners are using police to shield them from reporters seeking comment.
Chandler Rome, the Astros beat writer for the Houston Chronicle, attempted to talk to Astros owner Jim Crane at the hotel in which the meetings are taking place. Which makes sense because, duh, Rome covers the Astros and, if you haven’t noticed, the Astros are in the news lately.
Here’s how it went:
This was confirmed by other reporters:
To be clear: this is a radically different way things have ever been handled at MLB meetings of any kind. Reporters — who are credentialed specifically for these meetings at this location, they’re not just showing up — approach the GMs or the owners or whoever as they walk in the public parts of the hotel in which they’re held or in the areas designated for press conferences. It’s not contentious. Usually the figures of interest will stop and talk a bit then move on. If they don’t want to talk they just keep walking, often offering apologies or an excuse about being late for something and say they’ll be available later. It’s chill as far as reporters vs. the powerful tend to go.
But apparently not today. Not at the owners meetings. Now police — who are apparently off duty on contract security, but armed and in full official uniform — are shielding The Lords of Baseball from scrutiny.
We live in interesting times.