Cross another team off Craig Kimbrel's list. Is the All-Star closer inching closer to a Red Sox reunion?
Speaking to Sirius/XM Radio, Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos reiterated his stance that Atlanta isn't looking to spend big on a closer, mentioning Kimbrel by name.
"He makes everybody a lot better," Anthopoulos said, per MLB Trade Rumors. "He's one of the best closers of all time. I did come out early in the offseason and, not speaking specifically about him, but [said] our payroll, our model, I don’t know that us spending big, elite dollars on a reliever -- length, the term and all that -- I don’t know that that model works for us."
Kimbrel's demands have reportedly dropped from $100 million at the start of the offseason to $80 million over the last month. It now appears unlikely he'll see even that much, though as MLB Trade Rumors noted, he could still break Wade Davis's record $17.3 million average annual value for a reliever.
With potential suitors like the Cardinals (Andrew Miller), Phillies (David Robertson), and Angels (Cody Allen) seemingly out of the market, and Adam Ottavino recently signing with the Yankees, the pools of both available closers and teams that need them have shrunk.
The Red Sox are one of the few teams left with a need for Kimbrel, as well as the budget to afford him, if his asking price continues dropping.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski proved last spring that he's willing to wait for his man when he signed slugger J.D. Martinez during spring training before the veteran anchored a lineup that won the World Series. Perhaps history will repeat itself with Kimbrel, who struggled in the playoffs last year, but has been one of baseball's most reliable closers otherwise.