Craig Kimbrel rumors: Rays among teams showing interest in unsigned veteran closer

All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel remains unsigned at this late hour, but a number of teams have reportedly been keeping tabs on the right-hander, who turns 31 later this month. According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the first-place Tampa Bay Rays are among the teams with some level of interest in Kimbrel. 

While there's good reason to think Kimbrel will never again be a true dominator, he still projects as being quite good in 2019. This past season, Kimbrel for the champion Red Sox pitched to a 2.74 ERA/160 ERA+ with a 3.10 K/BB ratio in 62 1/3 innings. The strikeout numbers remain impressive, but Kimbrel struggled badly with his control in 2018. That continued to be the case during the Sox's run to the World Series trophy. 

As for the Rays, Kimbrel wouldn't seem to be a natural fit. The bullpen has been a pronounced strength for the Rays this season, and manager Kevin Cash prefers to play match-ups when it comes to save opportunities. 

Given that Kimbrel is a decorated closer with 333 saves, it seems unlikely that he'd be amenable to a job-sharing arrangement. Possibly, though, installing Kimbrel as the primary closer would allow Cash to have even more of the bullpen flexibility that he cherishes elsewhere in the relief corps.

CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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