3. Craig Kimbrel
With Kenley Jansen leaving in the offseason for the Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers had a hole to fill at the closer position. Right before the 2022 season began, the team decided to fill that hole by trading AJ Pollock to the Chicago White Sox for Craig Kimbrel.
Just for transparency’s sake, I hated the trade when it happened and every time I see Kimbrel allow a run I hate it even more. Kimbrel is past his prime and overpaid, and it’s always great to have outfield depth. I bet the Dodgers wish they had Pollock instead of Trayce Thompson or Zach McKinstry right now, don’t you?
It would at least be better if Kimbrel was having a halfway decent season, but that hasn’t been the case. Manager Dave Roberts’ faith in Kimbrel is already being tested as the veteran closer has a 4.35 ERA this season.
Reliever’s ERAs can balloon quickly, but this is not the case of one really bad outing for Kimbrel — it’s consistent mediocrity. Kimbrel has blown three saves and lost another two games from allowing runs in the ninth when the game was tied.
He has allowed a run in 12 of his 33 appearances this season, meaning there’s a 36% chance that he will allow a run whenever he takes the mound. Those odds are simply far too high for a closer.
There have been nights where Kimbrel looks like a valuable MLB closer, and the Dodgers need to see a lot more of that in the second half. If not, there’s no way he can pitch during high-leverage moments in the playoffs.