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Red Sox extend qualifying offer to Kimbrel

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- The Red Sox presented a qualifying offer to All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel on Friday, giving the flame-throwing righty one possible avenue -- albeit an unlikely one -- toward returning to the World Series champions.

Kimbrel has until Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. ET to accept the offer, and if he does, he would earn $17.9 million from the Red Sox in 2019.

BOSTON -- The Red Sox presented a qualifying offer to All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel on Friday, giving the flame-throwing righty one possible avenue -- albeit an unlikely one -- toward returning to the World Series champions.

Kimbrel has until Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. ET to accept the offer, and if he does, he would earn $17.9 million from the Red Sox in 2019.

Given Kimbrel's track record, which includes 333 career saves and seven All-Star appearances, the veteran is far more likely to reject the offer and explore his options as a free agent for the first time in his career.

• Qualifying offer rules explained

In fact, only five of the 73 players who have been extended qualifying offers since this system began in 2012 have accepted the offers. By making the qualifying offer to Kimbrel, the Red Sox have covered themselves in terms of compensation should he sign with another team.

Due to the fact the Red Sox went over the luxury-tax threshold, the compensatory pick they would receive for Kimbrel leaving would be after the fourth round is completed.

The Red Sox didn't make qualifying offers to the two other players who were eligible: righty Joe Kelly and lefty Drew Pomeranz. Due to the fact they acquired Nathan Eovaldi, Ian Kinsler and World Series MVP Steve Pearce during the season, the Red Sox weren't eligible to make qualifying offers to those players.

Kimbrel and the team's other free agents are now eligible to sign with all 30 Major League teams.

In a news conference on Thursday, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski expressed the desire to keep as much of the team's championship-winning core together as possible.

If the Sox can't keep Kimbrel, Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier are two in-house candidates to replace him as closer.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Craig Kimbrel