As free agency begins, the Philadelphia Phillies have a few holes to fill as they retool for the 2024 MLB season. One of those holes will be a critical one in the bullpen, with closer Craig Kimbrel heading into free agency. As a result, we'll take a look at the possible options available for the Phillies to pursue to fill their closer role for the 2024 season and rank the probability of each.
Re-signing Craig Kimbrel
So why not just re-sign Craig Kimbrel as the easiest solution for the Phillies?
After all, he put together a strong season for the ballclub in 2023. He went 8-6 with a 3.26 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 28 walks, and 94 strikeouts in 69 innings pitched during the regular season. He also became an All-Star for the ninth time in his career as a result of his impressive work. He was so dominant for the Phillies at one point that he didn’t register a blown save until after the All-Star break.
However, there were signs that Kimbrel was beginning to falter down the stretch when he blew five saves in the final two months of the season. Consequently, fellow reliever José Alvarado ended up taking over some of the closing duties in important games during September.
But on top of that all, the Phillies’ faithful will probably never forget the two most important games of the year that he blew during the NLCS against the Arizona Diamondbacks that eventually led to their elimination from World Series contention. As a result, the Phillies most likely won’t have the confidence to bring Kimbrel back for another go at it and would prefer someone much more consistent and reliable.
Probability of Craig Kimbrel returning to the closer role: Highly unlikely
NEXT: Internal options the Phillies could look at to fill the closer vacancy