Boston Red Sox

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

By Matt McCarthy,

The Chicago Cubs are among the teams interested in signing former Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel and, according to Ken Rosenthal, Theo Epstein and company are “pushing hard” for the seven-time All-Star.

Rosenthal wrote in The Athletic over the weekend that the Cubs, who spent a measly $8.5 million this offseason, could now be more willing to take on payroll in the absence of utility man Ben Zobrist, who is on the restricted list. Zobrist has stepped away from the game while he goes through a divorce, and the Cubs could save more than $9 million against the luxury tax if Zobrist does not return.

According to Rosenthal, the Twins and Phillies are also believed to be in the mix for Kimbrel.

As the Cubs have entered the picture, it seems that the Atlanta Braves, long-rumored as a potential landing spot for Kimbrel, have exited the frame.

Kimbrel, according to Rosenthal, was looking for a three-year deal “in the $39 million to $52 million range” in April.

It is unclear what type of contract Kimbrel is seeking now.

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.