One of the best relievers in baseball remains unsigned three weeks into the season as Craig Kimbrel is still waiting for his next team.
Jim Bowden recently reported in a story for The Athletic that Kimbrel is seeking a five year deal with over $100 million.
Now, Ken Rosenthal reports Kimbrel is seeking a deal that would likely bring more interest from teams.
Free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel continues to seek a deal he believes to be fair and in the range of two recent free-agent relievers, Wade Davis (3 years, $52M) and Zack Britton (3/$39M), sources tell The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) April 13, 2019
If Kimbrel is really looking for a three-year deal in the range of $39 to $52m, then it is a surprise he is still a free agent since so many teams have had bullpen troubles. The reported asking price should really interest teams since Kimbrel is better than both Wade Davis and Zack Britton and he has been better for longer.
Kimbrel, 30, has been one of the most productive closers in baseball history. He has a career 1.91 ERA, 1.96 FIP, 2.16 xFIP, 14.67 K/9, and 3.46 BB/9. Last season, he put up a 2.74 ERA, 3.13 FIP and xFIP. 13.86 K/9, and 4.48 BB/9 for the Boston Red Sox.
Although it does appear likely that teams are waiting so they don’t have to give up a draft pick to sign him.
At this point though, think teams hold out a month and a half to avoid losing a pick? Not to mention the contract will be prorated
— Hyun-Jin Ryu’s Burner account (@Kershizer77) April 13, 2019
The Dodgers need to be talking to Kimbrel, if that is indeed his asking price. With Joe Kelly’s struggles and the bullpen looking like a mess overall, pairing him with Kenley Jansen at the back end would help solve their problems.
Another added benefit would be keeping Kimbrel away from the teams they’ll be competing with to get to the World Series.
He would likely slot into the ninth inning role, with Jansen becoming their high leverage reliever.
The last five postseasons, and more specifically, the last two, have shown how valuable a lock-down bullpen is. Adding an elite reliever for just money should be something the Dodgers are all over.