Free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel, who most recently won the 2018 World Series with the Boston Red Sox, is seeking a six-year, $100 million deal according to MLB team executives who spoke with Jayson Stark of The Athletic:
The 30-year-old is a seven-time All-Star and five-time top-10 finisher in the National League or American League Cy Young races. He's saved 333 games over a nine-year career.
Stark questioned whether such a deal could exist for Kimbrel, as there has been little movement on the closer front during hot-stove season.
A list compiled by Thomas Harrigan of MLB.com shows that relievers aren't getting any traction so far, with the "big" money coming in the way of Jesse Chavez's two-year, $8 million contract with the Texas Rangers.
The other issue is that Kimbrel's most recent MLB appearances didn't leave a good final impression on any potential suitors. In 10.2 postseason innings in 2018, Kimbrel gave up seven earned runs and walked eight batters. He allowed earned runs in five of his nine appearances after having done so just 13 of 63 times during the season.
However, teams may look to Kimbrel's brilliant 2017 season (1.43 ERA, 49.6 percent strikeout rate) and hope he returns to that form (or close to it). If Kimbrel does, then his new team will have the best closer in the game.
Ultimately, Kimbrel's career closer resume is second to none, so a team could pay big bucks for his services. A nine-figure deal may be out of reach, however, given the cold closer market and Kimbrel's 2018 postseason.