We kept the receipts. Yes, this offseason, The Athletic claimed the Philadelphia Phillies signing Craig Kimbrel as the team's best "under-the-radar" move. OK, maybe there weren't many "under-the-radar" moves to choose from based on Philly's offseason, but after the year Kimbrel had just completed, how could that even be a take?
Kimbrel opened 2022 as the Los Angeles Dodgers closer after coming over in a trade with the White Sox. Months later, he was removed from that role. When October rolled around, he was left off the postseason roster. His stats weren't hellish, but he failed the eye test time and time again and made every high-leverage appearance a heart attack situation for LA fans.
When he departed, it was a breath of fresh air. When he signed with the Phillies, Dodgers fans couldn't believe somebody was giving him another chance to close games, and they relished in the possibility of facing the right-hander in the postseason.
They were given a potential preview of that on Monday night with the Phillies in town. Down 9-4 in the seventh, the Phillies called on Kimbrel to face the bottom of the lineup.
Sadly, he walked the No. 9 hitter in Michael Busch and was then forced to pitch to Mookie Betts, who made him pay.
Dodgers owning Craig Kimbrel in their first opportunity was hilarious
Interesting decision to use Kimbrel in the seventh inning down by five runs, even if he did need work having not pitched since April 27. 11 of his 13 outings this year have come in the eighth inning or later, and nine of those have been with the lead.
The best thing for Dodgers fans to have witnessed as a form of revenge obviously would've been a blown save, but the next best thing was for Kimbrel to come in during garbage time and get knocked around. Mission accomplished!
Again, why was he in here?! Did Phillies manager Rob Thomson want him avoiding any and all high-leverage moments against his former team?
Kimbrel isn't labeled the closer, but he was brought in to provide relief in tight situations. He wasn't paid $10 million to do whatever he was asked to do on Monday night. What does facing the bottom of the lineup in a blowout do for him other than get the necessary pitches in?
Whatever the reasoning, it gave Dodgers fans a humorous form of closure after last year's disaster.