The MLB regular season is only weeks away and yet there are still some big names in the free agent market. That includes Craig Kimbrel who has yet to figure out which team to join.
The Tampa Bay Rays, a team hinted that they are not inclined to spend big bucks on a player. That included staying away from players asking for a $7 million paycheck. But alas, the Rays ended up signing Rafael Soriano to a one-year $7.25 million deal, ESPN reported. Will principal owner Stu Sternberg eat his words yet again soon?
As far as Kimbrel is concerned, the 30-year-old relief pitcher is reportedly seeking a six-year contract and a nine-figure deal. Also, the Rays have reportedly kept in touch with Kimbrel and now most are wondering if a surprise move could follow next.
Have heard #Rays are among teams that have maintained regular contact with Kimbrel, although still seems unlikely to work out.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) March 12, 2019
For critics, it would be hard to foresee the Rays passing up one of the most dominant players over the last decade. Even at his age, he remains one of the good relievers to have in the bullpen. But to make it happen, Draysbay.com says that the Rays will have to give up a draft pick. As a revenue-sharing recipient, Tampa Bay would have to give up their third-highest pick in the draft because Kimbrel declined a qualifying offer from the Boston Red Sox.
There is no doubt that the Rays can become a better team should Kimbrel join the fray. They can afford him considering they are sitting on a $56 million payroll. Assuming the relief pitcher comes in roughly for about $20 million, they still are at the top of their opening day payrolls in 2014 and 2017 that was just over $76 million.
With only about 16 days left before the MLB regular season starts, Kimbrel may be forced to decide on deals on the table. Seeking a long-term deal may not hold good chances at this point so agreeing to a short-term contract may suffice.
This could be a reason why both Kimbrel and the Rays have maintained contact. Tampa Bay has been known to be careful not to tie up on future payroll, making a short-term lease sensible. Could this be a deal happening moving forward?