By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel has rejected the team’s $17.9 million qualifying offer, paving the way for Boston to receive a draft pick in the event Kimbrel signs elsewhere in free agency.
Kimbrel was one of seven players around baseball to be tendered the one-year guaranteed deal. Only Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu accepted his team’s qualifying offer.
The decision allows Kimbrel to pursue a long-term contract in free agency. He could be looking at somewhere between $70-$80 million on the open market.
If Kimbrel inks a deal with another team, the Red Sox will receive a pick somewhere near the fourth round of the 2019 draft. The Sox would have received a higher pick, but the team incurred draft-related penalties by exceeding the $237 million luxury tax threshold this season.
Any team that signs Kimbrel would also be required to forfeit a draft pick.