Phillies interested in All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, per report
A big time closer could be on the Phillies offseason shopping list
Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Phillies are interested in All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel.
Morosi’s report is the second link between Philadelphia and Kimbrel early in the offseason after Jim Bowden named Philadelphia as a potential suitor for The Athletic (subscription required).
Projected to be the top reliever on the free agent market, Kimbrel is coming off a rocky slate for the Red Sox in the postseason.
Over nine seasons Kimbrel has a 1.91 ERA in 542 games, and he is the active leader in saves with 333, the 14th-most in baseball history.
Kimbrel started his rise to becoming one of the best closers in baseball as a member of the Atlanta Braves. From 2010-14 Kimbrel had a 1.43 ERA and led baseball in saves four years in a row.
Atlanta traded Kimbrel to San Diego prior to the 2015 season, which would be the only season Kimbrel didn’t make an All-Star team outside of his rookie year.
Less than a year later Kimbrel was traded from San Diego to Boston for four players.
If the Phillies are going to compete in the National League East, they’re going to have to upgrade their bullpen. After giving Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek large contracts last offseason the bullpen allowed 4.49 runs per game, just above the major league average.
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Manager Gabe Kapler didn’t rely on one single closer last year, leading to nine different pitchers finishing the season with a save.
Seranthony Dominguez, one of the club’s top prospects, was lights-out when he first arrived to the big leagues, but the former starter struggled to pitch in base-to-back games. In 14 games coming off zero days of rest Dominguez had a 6.00 ERA. That ERA disappeared in games following one or two days of rest, sitting at 1.69 in 23 games.
Kimbrel would take some stress off of Dominguez, but would add some stress to the Phillies payroll. This offseason the Phillies are following the 76ers by “star hunting” with superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado on the open market.
Kimbrel will cost a ton of money, but owner John Middleton and the front office are ready to spend to win.