The Minnesota Twins tried to land the seven-time All-Star closer, but in the end Craig Kimbrel ultimately decided to sign with the Chicago Cubs.
Earlier on Wednesday, it was reported by the New York Post’s Joel Sherman that the Minnesota Twins had made free agent closer Craig Kimbrel a priority in an attempt to bolster their bullpen. Signing the seven-time All-Star would have been huge for the Twins as their bullpen has taken a step back in recent weeks. Adding an arm like Kimbrel’s would have gone a long way from making Minnesota a true contender rather than just a cute story as well.
As the day unfolded, however, it just wasn’t meant to be. After reporting that the Chicago Cubs were “pushing hard” to sign Kimbrel, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic broke the news that Kimbrel is in the process of finalizing a deal to sign with the team and ending his lengthy offseason. Rosenthal also reported that the deal is worth close to $45 million over three years.
The news has to be a punch to the gut for the Twins if they were pushing as aggressively as had been reported. Signing the 31-year old would have only cost the Twins money and now they’re likely to hit the trade market to help bolster their bullpen which means that several of the organization’s prospects could be involved in a swap.
With Kimbrel now off the market, the Twins are likely to turn their attention to free agent starter Dallas Keuchel, who has also been mired in a lengthy offseason. While the Twins have contacted the former Houston Astros’ ace, the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s La Velle E. Neal reported that Minnesota wasn’t as high on acquiring Keuchel as they were on the idea of acquiring Kimbrel.
Either way, the Twins figure to be extremely active in the coming weeks as they look to capitalize on their red-hot start to the season.