If you listen to a number of industry insiders, the feeling is that the Dodgers got a steal when they traded for 2017 All-Star reliever Corey Knebel on Wednesday. But that trade was never supposed to happen.
According to Robert Murray of FanSided, the right-hander and his former club in Milwaukee were working up against the non-tender deadline on a deal to keep him a Brewer. Like, literally minutes.
10 minutes before the non-tender deadline, a Brewers executive with direct knowledge of the situation said that it was “looking like Corey Knebel won’t get (a deal) done” and that a non-tender appeared imminent.
Five minutes before the deadline, the Brewers reached an agreement to send Knebel to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Knebel is only two years removed from being one of the top closers in the National League. And in one of those seasons, he was recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery (Tommy John). Understandably, as Murray notes, if Knebel were to hit the free agent market, a number of teams likely would have been all over the once-dominant reliever. Now, thankfully for Dodger fans, Andrew Friedman was able to swing a deal for a much-needed backend of the bullpen arm for a team that lost two top options in Pedro Baez and Blake Treinen.
The right-hander has two more seasons of team control. Moreover, after a season that saw him post an ERA over 6 in 15 games, he shouldn’t expect much of a raise over the prorated $5.125 million he earned in 2020.
Knebel joins Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, and Brusdar Graterol as the top right-handed options out of the Dodger bullpen. Fortunately, the offseason is still young.