Craig Kimbrel, like all of the Red Sox free agents (at least according to Dave Dombrowski), would like to return to Boston. But the Sox appear lukewarm to the prospect of bringing back their veteran closer, who capped the worst season of his career by struggling mightily in the postseason.
They made him a one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer with the full expectation he won't accept it, tendering the proposal to ensure they'll receive draft-pick compensation if he signs elsewhere. According to the Globe's Nick Cafardo, they'd be willing to bring Kimbrel back if he accepts a three-year deal at the same $13.5 million annual salary he earned this year, but he's certain to command more than that on the open market. Especially since he's being shopped by his agent as the best closer of all time.
And it sounds like there'll be plenty of suitors once he gets to free agency:
With the Sox looking as if they'll blast through the luxury-tax threshhold for a second straight year in 2019 and with many of their young players -- Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. -- poised for arbitration raises as they creep toward free agency, Dombrowski and crew may be looking for places to save. If so, Kimbrel, 31 years old and with his numbers on an alarming downward trend, would be an obvious choice to go.
But it doesn't sound like he'll have much trouble finding work if they do.
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