Brewers in “serious” talks with Craig Kimbrel
It has been clear for months that the Red Sox were never going to seriously consider re-signing Craig Kimbrel, which you probably know I’m not crazy about. I’m also an incredible stubborn and, some may say, dumb person, and because of that I’ve convinced myself that the Red Sox will sneak in at the last second. Since the future Hall of Fame closer is still on the market, I’ve had a long time to convince myself of this falsehood. Fortunately, it seems like I may be able to stop that nonsense soon, as the Brewers have emerged as serious suitors for Kimbrel. Milwaukee has been one of the most aggressive teams in acquiring top-level talent over the last couple of years, and given the competitiveness we expect from the NL Central this year any addition to their club would make sense. Starting pitching is more of a concern for the Brewers than their bullpen, which is one of the best in baseball, but adding someone like Kimbrel shouldn’t hurt any roster. Having a back-end of Kimbrel, Josh Hader and Corey Knebel would give Milwaukee a huge advantage in any game they lead.
Eloy Jiménez agrees to record-setting extension
The extension parade kept on rolling into Wednesday, with one of the most prized young talents in the league signing an unprecedented deal. Eloy Jiménez gets lost in the shuffle a bit among major-league ready American League prospects because of the massive shadow cast by Vlad Guerrero Jr.’s talent. Jiménez would be the prohibitive Rookie of the Year favorite in most every other year, though, and one of the big potential stories of spring was how his service time was going to be manipulated. It seems that won’t be happening anymore, as the top prospect agreed to a six-year deal worth $43 million with two club options that could bring the overall value to $77 million. It is the most money ever given to a player with zero service that was previously in the organization. At first glance it may seem wild for a club to commit so much to a player they’ve never seen, but there is very little risk for teams in these deals. It’s obviously a bigger drop in the bucket than a deal like Jon Singleton’s a few years ago, but the White Sox can eat $43 million without much issue if Jiménez doesn’t pan out. On the other hand, if he hits as well as most evaluators anticipate he’ll be one of the biggest bargains in baseball. The other part of this is the awkward decision for the White Sox on whether they keep Jiménez down to start the year or admit sending him down was all about service time. We all know that was the case, but they may not be willing to admit it so emphatically.