All-Star free agent closer Craig Kimbrel has been sitting out in the free agent market for quite a long time now. According to reports, that time could be coming to an end and the Milwaukee Brewers could end it.
Jon Morosi has reported that free agent Craig Kimbrel is “close” to a decision. He also reports that the Milwaukee Brewers have interest in Kimbrel, which hinges on the return of Jeremy Jeffress.
He mentions that Jeffress is really the key piece to all this. His rehab is over and he’s back with the team, but he gave up at least one run in every rehab outing in Triple-A and it’s still not known which kind of Jeremy Jeffress the Brewers will get.
What Will Kimbrel Cost?
According to Morosi’s report, Kimbrel has brought his asking price down, looking for something similar to Wade Davis‘ three years, $52 million deal. He’ll most certainly demand slightly more than Davis’ contract because he’s a more accomplished pitcher over his career than what Davis was when he signed that deal.
It’s doubtful the Milwaukee Brewers or anyone else would be willing to go longer than three years on a contract for Kimbrel, who’s now on the wrong side of 30 and with a lot of mileage on his arm for a reliever.
That being said, he’s a dominant reliever who would add power, legitimacy, and consistency to a bullpen that has lacked those things this year. The bullpen was the strength of the Brewers last year but it hasn’t been that way to start 2019.
Are The Brewers Frontrunners?
There aren’t any reported frontrunners for Kimbrel at the moment. David Stearns appears interested, but it’s still up in the air at this point.
When Would Kimbrel Be Ready?
After having missed all of spring training, Kimbrel is not just going to jump into the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen the day that he’s signed. He’ll have to go to extended spring training most likely, and then spend time down in the minor leagues.
It would be at least a month from the day that he’s signed before he makes an appearance in the big leagues. So if they sign him this week, he’d appear, at the earliest, in mid-May. The longer he waits, the later and later it gets before he makes his season debut.
The Milwaukee Brewers bullpen has lacked dominance outside of Josh Hader this season. Now that Jeffress is back, that might change, but it remains to be seen.