While it once seemed all but inevitable that perennial All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel would be moving on from the defending World Series champion Red Sox, the momentum has shifted to the point where it would no longer be all that surprising to see the power righty return to Boston.
A major development toward that end occurred on Thursday, when MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported that righty reliever David Robertson agreed to a two-year, $23 million deal with the Phillies that includes a third-year option that could bring the total value of the deal to $33 million.
The Phillies, who have let it be known they are willing to spend money this offseason, were perceived as perhaps the top front-runner for Kimbrel's services.
Presumably, the addition of Robertson will allow the Phillies to now be even more aggressive in pursuit of an offensive stud like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.
Without the involvement of the Phillies, Kimbrel could be there at a price the Red Sox can live with.
The Braves have also been said to be interested in a reunion with Kimbrel, but MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports that the club would be unlikely to give him a four-year deal.
At the outset of the offseason, reports surfaced that Kimbrel was looking for a contract that would total $100 million in value. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman more recently said that Kimbrel had dropped his "ask" to $86 million, which the Yankees paid for Aroldis Chapman two years ago.