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Maybe Craig Kimbrel isn't interested in playing for the Twins

Kimbrel remains unsigned nearly a month into the season.

The Twins have the look of a team capable of winning the AL Central and maybe even doing some damage in the playoffs, but their chances would be better if they added an ace reliever like Craig Kimbrel. 

Kimbrel's name has been on the map for every fan base whose team has had early season pitching struggles, but nearly a month into the season the seven-time All-Star right-hander remains unsigned. 

It's got everyone in Twins Territory asking: Why aren't the Twins trying to sign Kimbrel?

The Twins will never say one way or another if they're interested, but what if they have reached out to Kimbrel and he's just not interested in playing here? It's a logical possibility that former Twins All-Star closer Glen Perkins brought up Thursday on his SKOR North radio show. 

"Does he want to come play here?" queried Perkins on his new Twin Cities-based radio show. "Not knowing what he wants to do, it's so hard to speculate because it seems obvious, you're like, ''why wouldn't you sign one-year and $20 million and come pitch for the Twins?' There's that whole side of it, and that's the unknown." 

According to reports, Kimbrel was asking for a five- or six-year contract worth $100+ million, but has since lowered demands to somewhere around half of that. 

Are the Twins willing to offer Kimbrel three years and $50 million? It seems like a reasonable price tag considering Kimbrel made $13 million for the world champion Red Sox last season, only to turn down Boston's $17 million qualifying offer with hopes of landing a longer-term deal. 

Perkins recalled the 2008 season when the Twins signed Kendrys Morales on June 8, noting how uplifting it was for the team. 

"It was like, "holy cow we signed Kendrys Morales,'" said Perkins. "That lift of like, 'man, we got another guy now.' I remember how good that made us feel, and just how uplifting it was." 

Perkins was in no way comparing the two because Morales wound up playing in just 39 games and the Twins missed the playoffs. But adding solid bat with some power compared to a perennial All-Star with a career strikeout rate of 14.7 batters per nine innings could legitimately make Minnesota a very dangerous team. 

The biggest question about Kimbrel, who turns 31 next month, is if his struggles in the second half and playoffs last season were fluky or the start of a regression.

He had a 1.77 ERA at the All-Star break in 2018 and then slumped to a post-All-Star break ERA of 4.57. In the playoffs, he was dinged for runs in five of nine appearances and had a 5.91 ERA. 

Minnesota's bullpen hasn't been terrible  and they might even be good enough to win the division as is, but adding Kimbrel could give the Twins some real juice once he's conditioned and ready to pitch, likely within a couple of weeks after signing.

Fans are drooling over Kimbrel, but maybe he swiped left on the Twins and that was the ballgame. 

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