The Phillies have a new bullpen arm — 13-year veteran Craig Kimbrel.
Most thought that after the marquee Philadelphia Phillies offseason signings — highlighted with shortstop Trea Turner and starting pitcher Taijuan Walker — that their big spending was complete ahead of the 2023 season.
Yes, President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski had other plans. According to several Friday evening reports, the Phillies and longtime closer Craig Kimbrel have agreed to a one-year, $10 million contract.
While Kimbrel may not assume the full-time closer role for manager Rob Thomson’s squad, his presence surely bolsters a bullpen and overall team looking for repeat success next season.
Here are three reasons why Phillies fans should be excited about the Kimbrel signing.
1. Craig Kimbrel joins the reigning NL champs after a not-so-bad 2022 season.
Kimbrel’s 3.75 ERA across 63 appearances last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers may seem alarming for the 34-year-old — who has a career 2.31 ERA across 13 seasons and six teams since his May 2010 debut against the Phillies.
But, consider this statistic recently pointed out by The Good Phight. If you remove Kimbrel’s 7 2/3 innings pitched and 10 earned runs allowed against the Arizona Diamondbacks last season, the right-hander would have had a 2.58 ERA — 117 points lower than his actual 3.75 ERA. Also, Kimbrel’s opposing slash line would have been a dominant .215/.303/.297.
To put things into perspective, David Robertson had a 2.70 ERA last season in red pinstripes. Brad Hand, meanwhile, posted a 2.80 ERA, followed by Seranthony Domínguez’s 3.00 ERA and José Alvarado’s 3.18 ERA.
If Kimbrel can repeat his 2022 season success while limiting outliers such as his performances opposite the Diamondbacks, he will immediately slot into an important back-of-the-bullpen role.