Craig Kimbrel has been one of the best relievers in baseball for the past several years.
His devastating fastball to go with his sickening knuckle curve certainly has something to do with that. His ERA throughout his 8 years has only been above 3 once (2016, 3.40) and above 2 three times (2011, 2.10 ERA / 2015, 2.58 / 2016, 3.40)
That means four of his seven years his ERA has been under 2 with a career FIP of 1.81. In addition to his gaudy ERA, his strikeout numbers have been equally as impressive. Craig Kimbrel has been the ideal closer.
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) September 19, 2017
There is one problem, however…
Kimbrel’s contract is up after the 2018 season. Wade Davis just signed a 3 year, $52 million deal with an option for the 2021 season. As we also saw last offseason, with Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, the elite closers are getting paid big money.
The thing about Kimbrel is this guy is a one of a kind. He’s just unhittable at times, it would be very hard to let a guy like that go.
Dombrowski has some pretty important decisions to make in the future. Obviously one is right now whether he should get JD Martinez, or not.
Adding talent is important, but retaining is equally critical. He must now think about the money with guys like Mookie, Sale, and Kimbrel – arguably their three most important players.
Obviously you can always get another closer, build up your bullpen again through free agency and trades and get some new guys. Carson Smith could be a long term option, but Kimbrel has the potential to be a future Hall of Fame closer. Whenever you have the chance to sign / re-sign a player with immense potential – you do it.
As far as Kimbrel goes, it’s pretty clear he’s going to get some dough when he becomes a free agent.
Dombrowski would be wise to enter negotiations soon and avoid paying a heavily increasing price tag.