Craig Kimbrel Needs To Hang Up The Cleats
Once upon a time, Craig Kimbrel was perhaps the most dominant closer in Major League Baseball. He was practically unhittable during his years with teams like the Braves and the Red Sox. Sadly, that was a number of years ago. It’s now 2022 and Kimbrel is washed.
As a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the 34-year-old righthander is unreliable. His ERA as of August 19th sits at a whopping 4.46 while his WHIP is a dismal 1.559. This trend has been going on for the last few years, averaging a 3.91 ERA.
The real question is what the Dodgers actually see in him. During the past offseason, they let their storied closer, Kenley Jansen, slip away to the Atlanta Braves. Jansen wasn’t perfect, but still managed to average a 2.37 ERA with 34 saves a year. With Atlanta, he is currently posting a 3.18 ERA with 28 saves.
There’s something very odd about this Dodgers Craig Kimbrel experiment too. The team has the lowest ERA of any in the Majors at 2.87 and is highlighted by relievers such as Evan Phillips, David Price (go figure!), Alex Vesia, and Caleb Ferguson. Kimbrel is arguably their worst pitcher out of the pen.
This is a far cry from arguably his best season ever. In 2012, he had an astounding 1.01 ERA with 42 saves. He was so unhittable that his FIP was 0.78. This was back when he was 24 years old. Atlanta had a Hall of Fame closer on their hands.
Those storied years with Atlanta will probably get him into Cooperstown. He leads all active players in saves with 393, after all. What Craig Kimbrel needs to do though is to retire. His inconsistency as a closer is scary, especially for a team with a “World Series or bust” attitude.
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