Dave Dombrowski says the Red Sox will not overpay for a closer for the 2019 season. This makes it unlikely Craig Kimbrel will be on the team next season.
The MLB Winter Meetings have started and for the Red Sox, they need to find a closer. It was reported a few weeks ago Craig Kimbrel wanted a 6-year deal which the Sox will never give him. Kimbrel was an average closer for the team and in the playoffs he was subpar. He’s also got that weird hawk stance before his delivery which seemed to get more attention than his pitching. Kimbrel and the Sox have parted ways this offseason and they might even go into spring training with no closer.
Kimbrel finished the 2018 season with a 5-1 record with a 2.71 ERA. In 62.1 innings pitched he gave up 31 hits, 19 runs, 7 home runs, and 31 walks. He recorded 96 strikeouts while his WHIP was 0.995.
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Kimbrel’s exit velocity was 88.7 in 2018 which was the second lowest in his career. In 2017 his exit velocity was 91.3, 2016 was 89.4, and 87.1 in 2015, the lowest in his career. Even his strikeout percentage decreased from 49.6% in 2017 to 38.9% in 2018. His walk percentage increased from 5.5% in 2017 to 12.6% in 2018.
In the postseason he was not good.
In the ALDS against the Yankees, he would have an 11.57 ERA, giving up 2 hits, 2 walks and 3 runs all in just 2.1 innings. In the ALCS against the Astros, his ERA was 4.50 with 4 hits, 4 walks, and 2 runs in just 4 innings.
Finally, in the World Series, his ERA was 4.15 in 4.1 innings pitched. He allowed 3 hits while giving up 2 runs. He also allowed a home run and walked 2. Kimbrel’s WHIP was 1.154.
Kimbrel wanting six years after his performance in the 2018 postseason is laughable.
An article from Christopher Smith of MassLive had quotes from President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski who spoke to the media about Kimbrel and the future of the closing position at the Winter Meetings.
"“We’re not going to be overly-aggressive with big expenditures for our relief, closer at this point,” said Dombrowski. “Our payroll is pretty high at this point. So without getting specific on him (Kimbrel), we’re not looking to make a big expenditure in that area. So read that as you may.”"
For Dombrowski to come out and say they aren’t going to overpay for Kimbrel or any closer for that matter is the right move. Kimbrel will probably get a 4-year deal max. A team would have to be dumb to give him the 6-years he wants. In conclusion, the numbers just don’t make sense to sign him to a multiyear deal right now.
He’s not Mariano Rivera, Keith Foulke, or even Jonathan Papelbon. He’s an average closer at best. They have better ways to spend their money instead of going all in on a closer. If they don’t sign one then they may promote from inside the organization either Matt Barnes or Ryan Brasier. Whatever Dombrowski decides to do this offseason, it’s clear that Kimbrel isn’t in the plans for 2019.