Craig Kimbrel Signs With Phillies For 1 Year, $10 Million
The Phillies have been quite busy this off-season. Maybe not as busy as the Mets, but still they have made several notable moves. They signed Trea Turner, Taijuan Walker, and Matt Strahm already. And now they have added 8-time All-Star Closer Craig Kimbrel to the fold. The 34-year-old agreed to a 1- year, $10 million deal with the Phillies.
Craig Kimbrel is going into his 14th season and will be on his 7th team. He spent the first 5 seasons with the Braves where he was among the most dominant pitchers in baseball. In those seasons he had an ERA of 1.43 ERA and 186 saves. He led the league in saves in 4 of those 5 seasons. And the one season he didn’t he pitched only 20.2 innings. Since then he has pitched 4 the Padres, Red Sox, Cubs, White Sox, and most recently the Dodgers.
This is not the same Craig Kimbrel who was nearly unhittable back in the day. His recent seasons have seen him have a few issues with consistency. In 2019, 2020, and with the Cubs in the back half of the 2021 season. But he bounced back a bit last year with the Dodgers. He has a 3.75 ERA and 22 saves across 60 innings.
Kimbrel joins a bullpen that already features Jose Alvarado, SerAnthony Dominguez, Connor Brogdon, and Matt Strahm. The bullpen has at times been a major issue for the Phillies. But if Craig Kimbrel can regain some of his once All-Star form, or even just pitch as well as he did last year with the Dodgers, it could go a long way to helping solidify the bullpen. In the offseason, the Phillies lost Brad Hand, David Robertson, and Corey Knebel. But Knebel was injured during the World Series run, and the other two did not pitch very well in it.
Rob Thomson never really set a consistent closer last year. He instead opted to use his trusted arms whenever he felt he needed them the most. So it is unclear where Kimbrel will factor into the different bullpen roles. But the Phillies now have 3 guys with 9th-inning experience, so some mix of Dominguez, Kimbrel, and Alvarado would make sense.
The Phillies are now up to $62 million in Average Annual Value spent this offseason. It is unclear if they have anything more up their sleeves, or if they are content with the several moves they have already made. But what is clear is that John Middleton and Dave Dombrowski were not content with losing the World Series, and went into this offseason looking to improve what was already one of the better rosters in the MLB.