Red Sox helper Craig Kimbrel celebrates after defeating the Dodgers in Game 4 of the 2018 World Series. (Photo: Richard Mackson / USA TODAY Sports)

PHOENIX – The Milwaukee Brewers have spoken with freelance agent Craig Kimbrel, according to a report by The Athletic on Tuesday night.

There was no indication that the contact between the sites was more than an exploration. One source pointed out that no agreement was reached.

Kimbrel is one of the two leading free agents left in the market alongside left-handed Dallas Keuchel. At the beginning of the offseason, there were reports that Kimbrel had sought a $ 6 million deal worth $ 100 million, but apparently nothing was offered to him in the neighborhood.

The Brewers are already stretched in terms of payroll for 2019, which is now projected at around $ 125 million, the highest in franchise history. They may have contacted Kimbrel to see if he would make a one-year deal, as they did with Yasmani Grandal ($ 18.25 million) and Infielder Mike Moustakas ($ 10 million).

But even a one-year deal Kimbrel would come at a high price. The current highest average contract value for a Reliever is the $ 17.33 million earned by Colorado's Wade Davis on average over a three-year contract ($ 52 million signed in 2018).

Kimbrel last scored a 1-5 result in 63 appearances with a 2.74 earned average run season for World Series champion Boston Red Sox, with 96 bursts in 62⅓ innings. In nine years at Atlanta, San Diego and Boston, he is between 31 and 19 years old with 1.91 ERA in 542 games, 333 savings and 868 failures in 532⅔ innings, a notable rate of 14.7 whiffs per nine innings.

The Brewers picked up a veteran helper on Tuesday when they signed the right-handed Josh Fields, who was fired by the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this month. That was a smaller deal, however, and Fields is assigned to the AAA San Antonio class to start the season.

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The Brewers are currently missing a valuable arm in their bullpen. Experienced right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, whose 2018 All-Star season was the best in his career, will open the season on the DL with shoulder weakness. General Manager David Stearns said on Tuesday he did not expect a prolonged absence from Jeffress, with the expectation that he could return by the end of April at the latest.

The Brewers exchanged a Compensation Round A Texas for relieving helper Alex Claudio and lost their third round in 2019 for the signing of Grandal, which denied the Dodgers' $ 17,9 million qualification offer. Kimbrel also rejected a qualifying offer from the Red Sox so that the Brewers would lose their fourth round if they signed it.