Don’t expect Red Sox to bite on Craig Kimbrel
BRADENTON, Fla. — Craig Kimbrel is still a free agent. So are Ryan Madson, Tony Sipp, Adam Warren, and a few other relief pitchers who could help the Red Sox.
But president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski doesn’t seem to be interested in any additions.
“As far as signings are concerned, I would say we’re through at this point,” he said Monday. “That’s something we’ll follow as we follow other things, so I can’t ever rule that out. But we don’t have anything going outside the organization. But you stay in contact with people to see if a situation makes sense.”
With Bryce Harper reportedly close to making a decision, Kimbrel will become the most prominent free agent. The 30-year-old closer had a 2.74 earned run average last season and averaged 13.9 strikeouts per nine innings.
But Kimbrel has gone unsigned for nearly four months. Reports in November had Kimbrel seeking $100 million, which could account for the lack of action.
Teams also maybe wary because of how poorly Kimbrel pitched in the postseason. He appeared in nine games and put 19 men base in 10⅔ innings. That Kimbrel averaged 97.6 m.p.h. with his fastball, down from 98.7 in 2017, also could be a factor.
Agent David Meter said a report that Kimbrel would sit out the season if his demands weren’t met was “utterly false.”
Meter told The Athletic, “Craig looks forward to signing a new contract in the near future.”
That was three days ago.
Mookie Betts will play his first game of the spring Wednesday in one of the split-squad games. Eduardo Rodriguez will pitch Wednesday against Baltimore at home.
J.D. Martinez will be held back until the weekend, with Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce getting into games after that. Martinez, who lives in Miami, will take the road trip to Port St. Lucie and West Palm Beach next week.
Cora is taking it slow with his older position players coming off the postseason, particularly Moreland and Pearce, given their injury history.
That Steven Wright has yet to pitch off the mound as he recovers from knee surgery is not a concern for Dombrowski. “He’s pretty much where we thought he would be,” Dombrowski said. “I’m not really taken back by where he is at this time.” The same is true for Dustin Pedroia, who has yet to play. Tim Wakefield arrived at camp Monday, and Cora wondered aloud if that would get Wright back on the mound so he could work with his fellow knuckleballer . . . Righthanded reliever Ryan Brasier (right big toe) is improving but still not ready to restart his throwing program . . . Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the Red Sox agreeing to terms with Martinez . . . Cora spent time before the game chatting with his older brother Joey Cora, the Pirates’ third base coach.