UPDATE 9:15 P.M.
So much for the Kimbrel to the Twins hype. A report says Kimbrel has agreed to sign with the Chicago Cubs.
Update: 11:47 A.M
Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network and The Athletic reports the Cubs are pushing hard for Kimbrel.
Rosenthal reports (paywall) that the Twins and Phillies are among the the other teams talking to the free-agent reliever.
Signing seven-time All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel might require a team committing $15 million to $17 million and a three-year contract, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.
Among Kimbrel's potential suitors are the Minnesota Twins, according to Feinsand, who says the Braves, Brewers, Phillies, Rays, Red Sox and Cubs are also in the mix to sign the hard-throwing right-hander.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post has been led to believe that the Twins consider signing Kimbrel a priority. Here's what he had to say in his Tuesday's column about Kimbrel and free agent starter Dallas Keuchel.
"Keuchel and Kimbrel both turned down the qualifying offer, which was for $17.9 million. So to save some face there is at least the perception both need to get at minimum the pro-rated portion of $17.9 million. Let’s eliminate Kimbrel from this discussion because executives I talked to say the closer is still trying to score a multi-year deal and one executive described him as a priority for the Twins. Plus, neither of the New York teams appear after Kimbrel, while the Yankees are very much interested in Keuchel."
With a 10-game lead in the AL Central, the Twins are huge favorites to push win the division and compete for home-field advantage in the postseason. But winning in the playoffs usually requires a stellar bullpen, and Minnesota's has been shaky with a 4.56 combined ERA (10th in the AL).
Do the Twins recognize that and are they willing to give Kimbrel a riskier multi-year contract?
"I absolutely think they have interest for one year," Dan Hayes of The Athletic said Tuesday on SKOR North radio. "Do I think they have interest in 3 years? No, I don't think so."
One could easily argue that signing Kimbrel only costs the Twins money, whereas trading for a stud reliever would cost Minnesota valuable prospects, which could later reveal more painful long-term effects if prospects traded away become stars for other teams.
Is Keuchel on the Twins' radar? MLB insider Jon Heyman said on Tuesday's episode of the Big Time Baseball podcast that the Twins could land Keuchel, but the "Yankees, Braves, Cardinals are the favorites."