HomeTrending MLB NewsTransaction Analysis: Reliever Roundup - Baseball ProspectusBaseball Prospectus

Transaction Analysis: Reliever Roundup – Baseball ProspectusBaseball Prospectus

Published on

Image credit: © Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Baltimore Orioles sign RHP Craig Kimbrel to a one-year contract with a team option, for a total of $13 million guaranteed.

One of the underrated aspects to the offseason is the feeling of seeing your favorite team not sign someone. Look, Kimbrel remains an excellent reliever despite his reputation, a reputation he is busy ruining for himself. By WARP he had his best regular season since 2017, working that WHIP back down into the 1.000 range. He’s always going to walk too many batters and put himself on that tightrope, but when he’s on his game, he’s allowing five hits per nine instead of seven, and you don’t have time to chew all your fingernails down to the bed.

Of course, the other part of Kimbrel’s game is that he’s going to pick a game every couple of weeks where he gets knocked around. Kimbrel’s never been easy to square up—his career BABIP is .266—and that’s probably the best indication of whether he has it. In 2023, that number was .239. But when he does fall into contact, he’s suddenly very mortal. His SLGCON last year was .550, which is right around league-average, and right next to Matthew Liberatore.

But let’s not kid ourselves. Regular-season Kimbrel isn’t the story with this deal. What we have instead is another example of the Kershaw Conundrum: The teams that employ Kimbrel are going to need him far more for October than April. Since escaping team control, Kimbrel has pitched in the postseason six times in eight seasons, and one of those other two times was the 2022 Dodgers, who simply opted not to use him. It’s a long offseason, but the streak looks like it’ll hold with the 2024 Orioles, who should be looking at pretty strong postseason odds. And then:

KimbrelRegular Season, CareerPostseason, Career
BB%10.2%15.2%
K%39.4%24.2%
H%14.6%17.4%
HR%2.2%3.0%

This isn’t to say it’s a bad deal. It’s a perfectly acceptable deal numerically, if you’ve achieved enlightenment and detached yourself from the petty cares of this unfair and unfeeling world. Kimbrel is a quality closer, in sum, and this is what closers make. The Orioles needed the upgrade with Félix Bautista out for all of 2024, and he’ll either set up Yennier Cano, who stepped up admirably down the stretch last year, or serve as the Proven Closer. It’s just… look, we all watched the NLCS. You’re not getting that Kimbrel, necessarily. But you are paying for it to live in the back of your mind all year.

source

Latest articles

Is Rodon Roast Sign Of Revived Braves?

It was supposed to be a pitcher’s duel. Maybe even a preview of the...

The Mets Might Be Both Buyers And Sellers At The Trade Deadline

After a disastrous May, the Mets have played good baseball for the month of...

Nationals Fall To Diamondbacks In Two Of Three Games

After winning eight of their last nine games, the Washington Nationals ran into some...

More like this

Is Rodon Roast Sign Of Revived Braves?

It was supposed to be a pitcher’s duel. Maybe even a preview of the...

The Mets Might Be Both Buyers And Sellers At The Trade Deadline

After a disastrous May, the Mets have played good baseball for the month of...