USA Today Sports

Craig Kimbrel turns down chance to take qualifying offer

Rob Bradford
November 12, 2018 - 5:10 pm

Craig Kimbrel has turned down a chance to make a guaranteed $17.9 million next season.

The closer has decided to not accept the qualifying offer extended by the Red Sox. By doing so he turns his back on a one-year guaranteed deal in favor of testing the free agent market. MLB Trade Rumors projects Kimbrel as ready to make the fifth-most lucrative deal in the open market, predicting a four-year, $70 million deal.

If Kimbrel signs with another club the Red Sox will receive a draft pick somewhere in the vicinity of the fourth round. (The later-round selection is due to penalties incurred by finishing with a payroll upwards of $237 million.) The acquiring team would also be forced to surrender a draft pick.

The 30-year-old Kimbrel finished 2018 with 42 saves and a 2.74 ERA in 63 appearances. He struggled somewhat in the postseason, allowing at least one run in five of his nine appearances.

Kimbrel is considered the premier closer in free agency, with the likes of Jeurys Familia, Zach Britton, David Robertson, Andrew Miller, Kelvin Herrera and Adam Ottavino all figuring to get no better than three-year deals.

Seven free agents were extended qualifying offers, with only the Dodgers Hyun-Jin Ryu representing the only player to accept the one-year commitment. Those joining Kimbrel in turning their back at the qualifying offer included Yasmani Grandal, Bryce Harper, Patrick Corbin, A.J. Pollock and Dallas Keuchel.