The Brewers have reportedly engaged in “pretty serious” negotiations of late with closer Craig Kimbrel, who remains available even after the start of the season. Now, having lost closer Corey Knebel to season-ending Tommy John surgery, a union between the Brewers and Kimbrel looks even more plausible on paper. However, barring a massive drop in asking price, the Brewers aren’t in position to sign Kimbrel or the majors’ other big-ticket free agent, starter Dallas Keuchel, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Both Kimbrel and Keuchel rejected a $17.9MM qualifying offer from their previous team at the outset of the offseason. But even if they wind up settling for one-year contracts, odds are those deals will approach or exceed the worth of the qualifying offer. The Brewers, for their part, probably don’t even have half the value of the QO left in their budget, Haudricourt relays, as they’re already sporting a franchise-record Opening Day payroll. As a result, Haudricourt posits they’re more likely to rely on in-house reinforcements such as injured reliever Jeremy Jeffress and on-the-mend starter Jimmy Nelson than splurge on one of the two star free agents sitting on the open market.
More from around the game…
- Astros shortstop Carlos Correa is likely to make his season debut Sunday, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle suggests. Correa suffered a neck strain a week ago, which has left short to the error-prone Aledmys Diaz and elite third baseman Alex Bregman so far this season. Upon his return, the 24-year-old Correa will aim to rebound from a surprisingly pedestrian 2018 campaign, his second straight injury-limited season.
- Athletics catcher Chris Herrmann, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee toward the beginning of March, expects to miss eight to 10 weeks, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The recipient of a $1MM guarantee over the winter, Herrmann had the inside track on a season-opening roster spot before going under the knife. His injury opened the door for minor league signing Nick Hundley to join holdover Josh Phegley as the Athletics’ top two catchers. Hundley and Phegley have gotten off to slow starts in the early going.
- Nationals left-hander Vidal Nuno III decided not to exercise his March 27 opt-out clause, Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post tweets. Nuno, who did not make the Nats’ season-opening roster, will have another chance to exit his minor league deal June 15 if he’s still with the organization. In the meantime, the 31-year-old is set to begin the season at the Triple-A level, per Dougherty. Nuno spent most of 2018 in Triple-A with the Rays, but he did amass 33 innings in the majors and pitch to a stingy 1.64 ERA (alongside an unspectacular 4.46 FIP and a paltry 28.6 percent groundball rate) with 7.91 K/9 and 2.73 BB/9.