By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Washington Nationals could have some extra money to spend now that Bryce Harper has departed for Philadelphia, and they could look to bolster their bullpen by adding former Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel.
According to multiple reports Saturday, the Nationals are among the teams showing interest in Kimbrel, who is still jobless nearly three weeks into spring training. Two other National League East teams, the Atlanta Braves and the Phillies, are also said to be vying for the seven-time All-Star.
The Nats have Doolittle, Rosenthal (who looks great) and Baraclough but they remain keenly interested in Craig Kimbrel. Two of the other main threats on CK are the Braves and Phillies, who have done plenty. @Buster_ESPN and @Ken_Rosenthal mentioned Nats interest— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 2, 2019
In an article for The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal provided more details on Kimbrel’s market.
“The Nats, according to major-league sources, maintain interest in signing free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel, a move that would cap off their efforts to construct a powerhouse bullpen and further escalate the competition in the NL East,” Rosenthal wrote.
“The Braves also are exploring Kimbrel, who is entering his age 31 season, but reportedly only on a shorter deal. The Nats, due to their luxury-tax issues, might be willing to go longer, offering a higher guarantee but lower average annual value, similar to what the Phillies did with Harper,” Rosenthal added.
Earlier this offseason, Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos spoke at length about Kimbrel and seemed to indicate his team would be hesitant to meet the free agent closer’s contract demands.
Last weekend, MLB insider Jim Bowden reported that Kimbrel could sit out 2019 if he does not find a contract offer to his liking. That report was later disputed by Kimbrel’s agent, David Meter, who said the closer has no plans to take 2019 off.
The Red Sox have indicated on multiple occasions that they do not plan on re-signing Kimbrel.