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Craig Kimbrel reportedly wants six-year deal in free agency

Alex Reimer
November 30, 2018 - 11:28 am

The Red Sox are reportedly entertaining the notion of bringing back Craig Kimbrel, but probably not at the price he wants.

The veteran closer is looking for a six-year deal in free agency, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. That likely explains why Kimbrel turned the Red Sox’ $17.9 million qualifying offer earlier this month, which would’ve covered only one year.  

Since Kimbrel’s agent is supposedly telling teams his client is the best closer in baseball history, it’s not surprising they’re looking to score a mammoth contract. But given the volatility of relief pitching, it would be risky for any team to lock up the 30-year-old Kimbrel for multiple years, never mind six. 

Last season, Kimbrel had the second-highest ERA of his career (2.74) and posted his third worst strikeout-to-walk ratio. The seven-time All-Star imploded in the first two rounds of the playoffs, putting up ERAs of 11.57 and 4.50 in the ALDS and ALCS, respectively. He settled down in the World Series, only allowing two runs in 4.1 innings against the Dodgers.

In three seasons with the Red Sox, Kimbrel had a 2.44 ERA and recorded 108 saves with nearly 15 strikeouts per nine innings. His career ERA is 1.91.