Kimbrel declined the Red Sox's one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer and became a free agent Monday, Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com reports. This comes as no surprise, as Kimbrel is expected to command a healthy contract this offseason after putting together another All-Star campaign as Boston's closer. The 30-year-old finished the season with 42 saves, a 2.74 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 96:31 K:BB across 62.1 innings for the World Series champions.
Kimbrel will receive a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the Red Sox on Friday, Jon Heyman of Fancred reports. As expected, Kimbrel will get a qualifying offer, which means he has 10 days to decide whether to accept the deal or head to the free-agent market. Across 63 regular-season appearances, Kimbrel logged a 2.74 ERA and 0.99 WHIP with 42 saves in 47 chances.
Kimbrel picked up the save with a scoreless inning in Game 5 on Thursday as the Red Sox clinched the American League pennant against the Astros, permitting just one walk and no hits while striking out two. Kimbrel entered the game with a three-run lead and allowed a one-out walk to Yuli Gurriel, but he retired the next two batters to nail down the save for the Red Sox. The closer recorded 42 saves with a 2.74 ERA in the regular season and needed just 14 pitches to earn his fifth save in five postseason chances.
Kimbrel gave up one run on one hit and no walks through 1.1 innings to pick up a save against the Yankees in Game 1 of the American League Division Series. He struck out three. Kimbrel entered the game with two outs in the eighth inning with a two-run lead and promptly forced Andrew McCutchen to fly out to right field. The right-hander gave up a solo home run to Aaron Judge leading off the ninth that made the score 5-4, but Kimbrel proceeded to strike out the next three hitters to nail down the save for the Red Sox. The closer recorded 42 saves with a 2.74 ERA in the regular season and looked just as dominant in his first postseason appearance.
Kimbrel struck out one in a clean ninth inning Friday to earn the save against the Indians. Kimbrel retired the Indians' hitters on 10 pitches (seven strikes) to pick up his 42nd save of the year. Kimbrel has now thrown eight consecutive scoreless outings, allowing just one hit while striking out 12 in that span. The right-hander's 42 saves trail only Edwin Diaz (56) in the majors, and he's posted a .148 batting average against with a 93:28 K:BB in 61 innings this season.