Craig Kimbrel is still out there on the free agent market, and I believe the Dodgers need to step up and sign the 31 year old reliever to at least a one year deal. Here’s why.
Image: Craig Kimbrel pitching for the Red Sox at Dodger Stadium in the 2018 World Series / Photo Credit: MASN.com
In the past two postseasons, pitching has been good but not good enough in my opinion. The Dodgers blew leads in multiple games of both the 2017, and 2018 World Series and this was in large part due to the fact that they did not have any big arms coming out of the bullpen. While the arms we had were serviceable, the teams that beat us had multiple hard throwing pitchers that showcased a variety of pitches including high 90’s fastballs and nasty breaking balls. Kimbrel has been an elite closer for his entire career, sporting a 1.91 ERA over 532.2 innings in 9 seasons while averaging a ridiculous 14.7 strikeouts per nine innings. Pairing Kimbrel with current Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen would instantly give the Dodgers the best bullpen in baseball.
Image: Craig Kimbrel fired up during the 2018 postseason in Boston / Photo Credit: SportingNews.com
Speaking of Kenley Jansen, he has not been as sharp as he was in the past few seasons. If you compare his 2016-2017 stats to his 2018-2019 stats, Jansen has been a completely different pitcher. His ERA, walks, Home runs per nine innings and Whip have all grown in the wrong direction. Even still he is one of the better closers in baseball, averaging at least 36 saves in each of the past 5 seasons. The biggest issue with Jansen has been his performance in the World Series. According to baseball reference, in all of the playoffs, Jansen has seen his ERA, home runs allowed, home runs per nine innings, and earn runs all be at their highest in the World Series. While Jansen has come out and said he is ok with the Dodgers adding Craig Kimbrel he has stated that he still wants to be the closer of the team. I believe Jansen should be the closer because he has earned it, but having Kimbrel to back Jansen would allow the team to always have a reliable closer to finish out games.
Image: Kenley Jansen celebrates after locking down a save for the Dodgers / Photo Credit: OCRegistar.com
With the news of Julio Urias coming out today, the Dodgers will be without the star lefty for at least the next 80 games. Urias was my pick to become the next set up man, but once he is back the Dodgers wanted to work him into the rotation. Kimbrel would allow the Dodgers to make that move and still feel confident that they could close out games. I realize he wanted a long term deal, but if Kimbrel wants a shot at getting back on the field and having a chance at winning another World Series, he should put his ego aside, take a one year 16 million dollar deal with the Dodgers, and help the boys in blue bring a title back to LA.
Image: Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen, a preview of what could be for the Dodgers / Photo Credit: CBSSports.com
Do you think the Dodgers should sign Kenley Jansen? Where do you think Craig Kimbrel will sign? Comment below to let me know, and as always, thanks for reading!