As you may have heard, the Phillies made a big move on Thursday by signing former Yankee reliever David Robertson to a two-year deal. Presumably, Robertson will step into their closer role, though Gabe Kapler has shown a willingness to move pitchers around in terms of role. Anyway, the Red Sox were assumed to be involved in the Robertson negotiation, and now they are sent back to the drawing board as the righty signs with another team.
To many, myself included, this signing triggered another reason to believe the way this ultimately turns out is Boston getting Craig Kimbrel back in town. The Phillies were seen as the main competition for the all-time great closer, and while this doesn’t completely take them out of the Kimbrel market their focus is likely to shift almost entirely to the Bryce Harper and Manny Machado markets.
As a result, it’s hard to see from where the competition for Kimbrel is going to come. The market doesn’t seem robust from the outside, and Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston confirms that with this report. In the linked post, Drellich discusses Kimbrel’s market at length and what it says about the free agent landscape in particular. The most important part is this quote from an American League executive, who simply says Kimbrel’s market is “crazy low.”
Now, we knew from the get-go that the 30-year-old’s hope for a six-year, $100 million deal was ridiculous. That’s how these things work, and stars are always “hoping” for huge deals at the start of winters before coming back to reality. However, it sure seems like things are falling beyond where I thought they would. It’s hard to say where this deal ends up, and if the market is truly as small as Drellich is reporting then other teams will likely jump in and even things out. However, a four-year deal seems the most likely at this point, and maybe even a three-year deal could be possible. If that’s the case, the Red Sox should and would be even more inclined to bring back their top reliever for another go at a World Series.