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Craig Kimbrel touches on contract, Hall of Fame

Rob Bradford
July 17, 2018 - 10:34 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It has been a year Craig Kimbrel won't soon forget, and it's far from over.

The Red Sox' closer's 2018 has already been highlighted by the recovery of his infant daughter from heart complications. It's a reminder the Red Sox' closer was afforded once again with Lydia Kimbrel's presence at the All-Star Game.

But, while not as important as the good health of Kimbrel's first-born, there figures to be plenty of twists and turns ahead for the 30-year-old.

There is, of course, the anticipation of what will happen with his team, the one which heads into the All-Star break 38 games over .500. And monitoring how Kimbrel performs is also of interest, having converted 30 of 32 save chances so far. Then there is the contract.

For the first time in Kimbrel's career, he is going to be eligible for free agency, having signed a four-year, $42 million extension (with one club option for 2018) back in 2014. If things keep trending this way, he might have a chance to become the first closer to secure a $100 million deal. That talk, according to the righty, can wait.

"It has been a heavy last year and it will continue to be," Kimbrel said during Monday's media availability. "I'm enjoying it. I feel blessed to be in Boston. Like I've said for many, many months now, going into this offseason I hope we're doing it with rings on our fingers and I think that's where we need to be.

"All I can do right now is perform and do what I can do and not worry about that. The most important thing to me right now is the Boston Red Sox and doing my job and everybody in that clubhouse. Until November and after that that's when those talks will start. Until then the most important thing to me is winning ballgames and my teammates."

Another future topic Kimbrel is shying away from is his candidacy for the Hall of Fame. For closers, it has never been an easy path, with only six (Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Bruce Sutter, Dennis Eckersley, Goose Gossage and Trevor Hoffman) getting the call. But the Red Sox reliever is certainly on the kind of track that suggests this is a legitimate conversation.

It's just a conversation Kimbrel doesn't want to have.

"Way too far off. I've heard that for a long time and it makes me feel uncomfortable to hear that at times," he said. "This is my eighth year in the league and I've been able to accomplish a lot. But for that to be said around me I have to play a lot longer for that to be thrown around. It really does make me uncomfortable."

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