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Report: No ‘Widespread Interest’ in Kimbrel, Return to Red Sox Possible

By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com

It was reported at the Winter Meetings last week that the Red Sox did not expect to re-sign closer Craig Kimbrel this offseason, likely due to the large financial commitment it would take to bring the all-star righty back.

Not so fast, apparently.

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the interest in Kimbrel on the free agent market is not as widespread as perhaps the closer’s camp may have thought. Olney has suggested that could bode well for the Red Sox, who may look to wait out the market and try to re-sign Kimbrel at a reduced cost.

“There doesn’t appear to be widespread interest,” Olney wrote.

Kimbrel’s agent has made headlines this offseason, reportedly asking for a record-breaking six-year contract north of $100 million and claiming his client is the greatest closer of all-time.

It doesn't sound like potential suitors are buying that pitch, at least for now.

Oct 9, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (46) celebrates after the last out in game four of the 2018 ALDS playoff baseball series against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Olney drew comparisons between Kimbrel’s situation this year and J.D. Martinez’s market last year when the Red Sox waited until February before signing the slugger to a $110 million deal.

“Kimbrel's best offer may well come from the Boston Red Sox,” Olney said. “Dave Dombrowski might be in pretty much the same position he was last winter with J.D. Martinez. The Red Sox made a $100 million, five-year offer to Martinez very early in the offseason ... and then they just sat and waited, and waited, and waited, with Dombrowski correctly reading that his was the most interested team, with the highest offer.”

It remains to be seen how much the Red Sox might be willing to spend on Kimbrel. Olney reported that people in the “industry” believe the Sox might not want to go beyond the three-year, $52 million contract given to Wade Davis or the four-year, $62 million deal given to Mark Melancon.

With the new year two weeks away, it looks like the Red Sox might be waiting a while to gain clarity on who will close games for them in 2019.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub's own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.