BOSTON (CBS) — Dave Dombrowski has made it clear that he isn’t going to break the bank for a closer this offseason. That means he won’t be giving Craig Kimbrel the record-setting contract that the seven-time All-Star reportedly seeks.
But as some of us usually find out around this time of the year, you don’t always get what you want. Kimbrel’s market isn’t as plentiful as the closer’s agent had hoped, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, which may ultimately benefit the Red Sox this winter.
“There doesn’t appear to be widespread interest,” Olney wrote on Monday (insider’s content). ” It may be that the closer will get markedly less than anticipated, such as this projection of a $70 million contract.”
And Olney speculates that the best offer may still come from the Red Sox. Dombrowski could borrow a move from his 2018 playbook and wait out Kimbrel, much like he did with free agent slugger J.D. Martinez last winter. After initially offering Martinez a five-year, $100 million deal early last offseason, the Red Sox patiently waited him out before he eventually signed a $110 million deal in February. It all worked pretty darn well for Boston, as Martinez provided some much-needed power in their lineup as he mashed 43 homers and drove in an MLB-best 130 runs to go with his absurd 1.031 OPS.
Kimbrel is one of the best closers ever with 333 career saves to his name, but he’ll turn 31 in May and had several hiccups during Boston’s World Series run. While his resume is better than anyone else on the market, not many teams need a closer this winter, and those that do don’t seem too interested in giving Kimbrel a gigantic contract.
All of that may help the Red Sox in the end. Once again, Dombrowski’s best play may be to sit around and wait.