With Phillies relievers dropping like flies due to injuries, signing Craig Kimbrel would have helped stabilize the bullpen.
Phillies relievers have made heavy use of the injured list this season with a new name seemingly added every other week. The latest name likely to be added is Seranthony Dominguez, who left Wednesday’s game with a mild elbow strain per Gabe Kapler.
If Dominguez does join the injured list, he will become the team’s seventh reliever on it. Victor Arano and David Robertson are both on the 60-day injured list while Tommy Hunter, Adam Morgan, Pat Neshek, and Edubray Ramos are all on the 10-day. Nearly the entirety of what was supposed to be the Opening Day bullpen is out.
With all the injuries piling up, the team is now forced to rely upon pitchers like Edgar Garcia, J.D. Hammer, Yacksel Rios, and Austin Davis, who were supposed to depth pieces. Vince Velasquez, who doesn’t even want to be in the bullpen, now gets the ball when things get tight.
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Considering all the injuries and where it has left Philadelphia, it left many fans frustrated that the team had little to no interest in signing Craig Kimbrel. The Cubs signed Kimbrel to a three-year, $43 million contract that runs through the end of 2021. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reported that Philadelphia only would give Kimbrel a one-year contract.
Signing Kimberl would have supported the ailing bullpen, even if it took him until the end of this month to get up to game speed. Most would prefer Kimbrel working out the kinks over the likes of Rios and Garcia coming out of the bullpen.
It should be noted that signing Kimbrel would have some long-term ramifications. The team would be cutting it very close to the luxury tax threshold next season, especially if they want to be active in the upcoming free agency period. They also have to think about potential contract extensions for J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins.
As mentioned earlier, it would take Kimbrel some time to get up to game speed. Even then, he may not be quite the force he used to be. While he did record 42 saves for the Red Sox last year, his strikeout rate fell and walk rate increased compared to 2017. Kimbrel’s fastball velocity dropped and he struggled considerably in the playoffs.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter anymore if signing Kimbrel would have been worth it or not. All the team can do now is hope the injured relievers come back quickly and the current bullpen can hold things together until then.