Boston Red Sox

By Matt McCarthy,

Spring training is underway and Craig Kimbrel is still looking for a home, but it sounds like a return to Boston remains unlikely.

In his first press conference of the spring, Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski once again dismissed the possibility of the team re-signing their closer, saying he does not envision “a big expenditure” at the position.

Those comments echo similar statements from Dombrowski earlier this offseason.

Instead, the Red Sox will look at a series of internal options to fill Kimbrel’s role, including Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Tyler Thornburg, and Steven Wright.

“Any time you say you’re going to replace a player of Craig Kimbrel’s caliber with the type of talent he has, it’s not easily done. He’s, to me, a future Hall of Fame reliever and one of the best closers in the game. But sometimes other guys get the opportunity and they step up,” Dombrowski said.

Mar 4, 2018; Sarasota, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski prior to the game against the Boston Red Sox at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kimbrel was reportedly asking for a record contract for a relief pitcher, somewhere in the ballpark of six years and $100 million, but hasn’t seen nearly the activity he likely anticipated on the free agent market.

The Atlanta Braves, one of Kimbrel’s potential landing spots, indicated last month that they don’t want to spend big money on a closer.

Meanwhile, most of the teams that entered the offseason looking for bullpen help have already addressed those needs. The Cardinals signed Andrew Miller, the Yankees re-signed Zach Britton and brought in Adam Ottavino, the Angels added Cody Allen, and the Phillies signed David Robertson.

Kimbrel turned down a one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer from the Red Sox to begin the offseason.

The Red Sox payroll currently sits around $240 million.

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.