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Braves might not be landing spot for Craig Kimbrel

Rob Bradford
November 18, 2018 - 11:55 am

If Craig Kimbrel wasn't going to return to the Red Sox in 2019 the long-rumored most likely destinations for the closer have always been St. Louis, Philadelphia and Atlanta.

While the Phillies still certainly look like they could be in play for Kimbrel -- with their owner John Middleton promising to spend a boatload of cash on free agency this offseason -- and St. Louis still in the mix, the Braves might be more of a longshot.

In his most recent mailbag Mark Bowman, who covers the Braves for, says that Kimbrel won't be a fit in Atlanta unless the reliever's asking price comes down into "Atlanta's comfort zone." The Braves do have the luxury of having to only give up their third-best draft choice if they ink Kimbrel (who declined the Red Sox' qualifying offer of $17.9 million), but the kind of commitment the 30-year-old may be seeking could eliminate GM Alex Anthopoulos interest.

MLB Trade Rumors projected Kimbrel as landing a four-year, $70 million deal, with the Cardinals winning out.

The Red Sox could still be in the mix at the right price. But with so many uneasy contract decisions on the horizon (Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts), it would seem Dave Dombrowski's more logical path would be to sign one of the closers seeking three-year deals to pair with the likes of Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes.