It’s been reported that the Red Sox closer has rejected his Qualifying Offer making him an unrestricted free agent.

It was an expected result, but it was announced on Monday afternoon that Craig Kimbrel has declined his $17.9 million Qualifying Offer. The former Red Sox closer will now be eligible to test the open market.

What Does This Mean?

For many casual fans, the Qualifying Offer is a bit of a question mark. Essentially, the Red Sox can offer themselves protection by way of the QO. If Kimbrel were to sign elsewhere, the spending team would forfeit a draft pick to Boston. There is a very small number of players that accept the offer (only 5 of the last 73 have), therefore seeing the Sox closer decline is not surprising.

Though Kimbrel has rejected the Red Sox Qualifying Offer, it doesn’t mean that he isn’t going to re-sign in Boston. It’s certainly possible that both sides may reach an agreement; however the compensation may make him the highest paid closer in all of baseball. According to Spotrac, the electric closer’s market value is 5 years / $82.5 million – a steep price for a team that has plenty of other young stars to lock up.

It looks like for the Red Sox closer to remain in Boston, he will have to take a bit of a pay cut. This seems highly unlikely as Kimbrel can get the contract of a lifetime and has already won a World Series title. A return to the NL East, via the Braves or Phillies, would not be surprising.

The Red Sox may have seen the end of Cardiac Craig and may turn their focus elsewhere.

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