Free agent reliever Craig Kimbrel, a key contributor to the 2018 Boston Red Sox, won't be at Fenway Park when the World Series winners receive their championship rings in a ceremony on Tuesday.
MassLive reported Monday that Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy said the two had talked, but the pitcher declined the invitation.
"While he really appreciated our invite and outreach, he feels his attendance might create a distraction," Kennedy said. "Out of respect for his teammates, he has chosen to not attend. While disappointed, we totally respect and understand his decision."
Kimbrel rejected a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the Red Sox in November, instead deciding to seek a long-term contract through free agency.
The right-hander, who turns 31 next month, went 5-1 with 42 saves and a 2.74 ERA in 63 appearances last season for the Red Sox.
A seven-time All-Star, he pitched with the Atlanta Braves (2010-14) and San Diego Padres (2015) before joining the Red Sox in 2016.
Kimbrel reportedly has talked to a number of teams this offseason but has yet to agree to a deal.