Thursday, June 6, 2019

Craig Kimbrel and the Twins bullpen

The confluence of events could not be ignored.

During an hour-plus rain delay in the Twins game in Cleveland, word broke that Craig Kimbrel had agreed to a three-year contract with the Chicago Cubs. Soon after play resumed in Cleveland, Blake Parker surrendered three runs on two homers in the seventh inning. Cleveland took the lead and did not relinquish it.

My view on Kimbrel is unchanged from a few weeks ago. I'm glad somebody else is putting their eggs in that basket.

The Kimbrel we saw last October with the Red Sox -- ERA of 5.91 in nine postseason games -- figures to be more problem than solution. Kimbrel's 2018 started to deteriorate in mid-season, and each month got progressively worse. Alex Cora turned to rotation ace Chris Sale to put away the Dodgers in the final game of the World Series rather than Kimbrel; that move spoke loudly to Kimbrel's unreliability.

The Twins bullpen is imperfect, of course. All bullpens are works in progress, all bullpens could be stronger. Minnesota's pen, made up largely of cast-offs and no-names, has been surprisingly effective at protecting leads, but cracks are beginning to show. Parker, for example, has now given up seven runs in his last 4.1 innings.

I just don't think Kimbrel is the answer, and committing $43 million to him -- the reported guarantee from the Cubs -- probably closes other options that might be more productive. We'll see how he fares with the Cubs.

No comments:

Post a Comment