Craig Kimbrel Rumors: Phillies, Braves, Cardinals Interested in Star Closer

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 7, 2018

Boston Red Sox's Craig Kimbrel throws during the ninth inning of Game 1 of the World Series baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Fresh off winning a World Series with the Boston Red Sox, free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel is generating a lot of interest on the open market. 

Per MLB Network's Jon Morosi, the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals are all possible suitors for Kimbrel. 

The Red Sox extended Kimbrel a qualifying offer, which would guarantee him $17.9 million in 2019 if he accepts it before the Nov. 12 deadline. 

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters at Tuesday's general manager meetings he anticipates Kimbrel will turn down the offer. 

"He may be calling around seeing what else is out there," Dombrowski said (h/t MassLive.com's Chris Cotillo). "You don't want to be caught by surprise when you're out there pursuing something real strong."

The Phillies, Braves and Cardinals all ranked in the bottom half of Major League Baseball in bullpen ERA last season. The Cardinals have the most pressing need for a closer, as Bud Norris is a free agent. 

Kimbrel posted a 2.74 ERA with 42 saves, 96 strikeouts and 31 hits allowed in 62.1 innings for the Red Sox in 2018.