Posted on June 4, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
Much like Dallas Keuchel, closer Craig Kimbrel is no longer attached to draft pick compensation after the start of the MLB Draft on Monday. That means teams no longer have to sacrifice a pick for signing him, opening the door for him to finally sign with a new team. Much like Keuchell, Kimbrel may not be in a rush to sign, but his market is bound to pick up. Here is an initial look at each team’s odds of signing Kimbrel for the remainder of the season.
Braves – 20%
The Braves were one of the few teams connected to Kimbrel all winter, and the fact that Kimbrel began his career in Atlanta could make them the favorites at the moment. The Braves are going with Luke Jackson as their de facto closer, but they could use a proven closer like Kimbrel to help solidify their bullpen and improve their chances of winning the NL East
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Brewers – 15%
The Brewers are another team that’s kept tabs on Kimbrel for a while. Milwaukee isn’t desperate for bullpen help, but they look like a team that will succeed or fail this season on the back of their bullpen. If they had Kimbrel as the closer, Josh Hader could serve as a versatile setup man and take their bullpen to another level.
Cubs – 10%
The Cubs have increased their interest in Kimbrel over the course of the season. They’ve gone the whole season without Brandon Morrow, who could be another month or more from returning. Pedro Strop has also been held back due to injury this year. Despite those absences, Chicago’s bullpen has been fine. But with the questions surrounding Morrow, they could use Kimbrel. It’s just a question of finding the money to sign him.
Dodgers – 10%
The Dodgers have Kenley Jansen as their closer, but he’s not the dominant force he was a few years ago. The rest of the Los Angeles bullpen has also been problematic and one of the team’s few weaknesses. They probably don’t need Kimbrel as much as some other teams. But the Dodgers are determined to win a World Series and money probably won’t be an issue if the team think Kimbrel can get them over the top.
Mets – 5%
The Mets don’t necessarily need a closer, but they need to do something about their bullpen. If they can get Kimbrel setting up for Edwin Diaz or vice versa, it would change the look of their bullpen entirely. However, there’s little indication the club is willing to spend the money it would take to land Kimbrel.
Nationals – 5%
The Nationals are sinking fast and it’s the bullpen that’s pulling them down. Signing Kimbrel would be a move of desperation to help save their season. For that reason, it’s unlikely they’ll make the leap. But it’s not impossible considering that Washington looks like they could be a seller this summer if things don’t turn around.
Phillies – 10%
If there’s money to be spent, the Phillies are probably going to be in the conversation. The NL East leaders are getting by just fine with Hector Neris, Adam Morgan, and others at the back end of their bullpen. However, Kimbrel could be a huge difference maker for them late in the season and in the playoffs, especially if veterans like David Robertson and Pat Neshek can come back from the IL to help out too.
Rays – 10%
Tampa’s bullpen is one of the best in baseball, but they’ve kept tabs on Kimbrel nonetheless. A closer with Kimbrel’s experience could be massive for the Rays the second half of the season. The team’s financial flexibility is always an issue, but with the kind of team they have, it could be worthwhile for the Rays to take a chance on Kimbrel and going for it in 2019.
Twins – 10%
Minnesota’s bullpen has been average at best this year. Despite that, the Twins look to be for real and they could make a huge statement by landing Kimbrel. They reportedly have interest in both Kimbrel and Keuchel, and while they aren’t big spenders, they’d only have to pay for about half a season of Kimbrel’s services, so they can’t be ruled out.
The Field – 5%
A lot of rebuilding teams can be ruled out of the Kimbrel sweepstakes. But injuries happen that could bring a team not listed here into the equation. It’s also been suggested that Kimbrel could choose to sit out the entire season. That’s unlikely to actually happen, but it does make it difficult to project where he’ll end up at this point.