BOSTON (CBS) — Craig Kimbrel is asking teams to back up the brinks truck this offseason.
The free agent closer has made it known that he wants a big-money deal this winter, but now we’re getting an idea of just how much money. Spoiler alert: It’s a lot.
Kimbrel and his agents are asking for a record-setting deal, both in money and in term. For comparison’s sake, the biggest contract ever given to a relief pitcher was the five-year, $86 million deal the Yankees gave Aroldis Chapman two winters ago.
Of course, what a player asks for on the open market and what a player actually gets are two different things. But Kimbrel’s camp is making it pretty clear that it’s going to cost a whole lot of pretty pennies for anyone who wants him to be their closer. That may lead to a lengthy wait for Kimbrel, as teams may not be too eager to give a soon-to-be 31-year-old closer a truckload of money. The Red Sox are among those teams, as Dave Dombrowski has said he won’t be making a big-money commitment for a closer this winter.
Kimbrel had a great regular season for the Red Sox in 2018 with 42 saves and a 2.74 ERA, but he struggled mightily throughout Boston’s playoff run. He locked down all six of his save opportunities, but allowed seven runs over 10.2 innings for a 5.91 postseason ERA. He always seemed to be working out of trouble, leading to some cardiac moments for the eventual world champs.
Kimbrel is going to get paid this offseason, thanks to his Hall of Fame resume that includes 333 career saves over his nine MLB seasons. But if he truly wants the richest deal ever given to a reliever, he may be waiting a while, and that deal most certainly won’t come from the Red Sox.