Arguably one of the best players on the team this year, Craig Kimbrel has been money for the Phillies as their closer for 2023. Signed to a one-year, $10 million deal during the 2022-23 offseason, the Phillies were hoping Kimbrel could regain his dominant All-Star form seen prior to 2019. For someone that was entering the ripe age of 35 this year and showing obvious signs of regression in three of the past four seasons, many were worried whether he had already begun his downfall for his career. However, their gamble has certainly paid off, as he has become one of the most important bullpen cogs on the team this year.
For the 2023 season, Kimbrel has posted an impressive 7-4 record, along with a 3.21 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, .174 opponents batting average, giving up 20 earned runs, 21 walks and 74 strikeouts in just 56 innings pitched. More importantly, the nine-time All-Star has converted 20 of 22 save opportunities to help the Phillies lock down many key victories during the season.
For what he has done and accomplished for the ballclub this year, it is a no-brainer that the Phillies should try their best to re-sign Kimbrel to a short-term deal as he heads into the twilight of his career. Together with José Alvarado and Seranthony Domínguez, they would form a three-headed monster for the Phillies’ back end of the bullpen in closing out games for the near future, thus likely extending the team’s window to contend for at least another couple of years. It’s often very hard to find a hard-throwing, reliable closer nowadays. So with the Phillies already in possession of a valuable one, they should lock him down as soon as possible.