Phils finalize 1-year deal with All-Star closer Kimbrel
PHILADELPHIA -- Dave Dombrowski said recently that he felt no need to respond to the Mets’ reported megadeal with Carlos Correa.
It did not mean, however, he wasn’t looking for further upgrades to the Phillies’ roster.
The Phillies finalized their one-year deal with right-hander Craig Kimbrel on Wednesday. It is expected to be worth $10 million, per a source, though the club did not disclose the terms. To make room for Kimbrel on the club’s 40-man roster, right-hander Francisco Morales was designated for assignment.
Kimbrel, who will turn 35 in May, ranks seventh on the all-time saves list with 394. He will enter 2023 with a chance to join the 400-save club that features only Mariano Rivera (652), Trevor Hoffman (601), Lee Smith (478), Francisco Rodríguez (437), John Franco (424) and Billy Wagner (422).
It is unclear, however, how many save opportunities Kimbrel might have with the Phillies. Rob Thomson prefers not to have an anointed closer, after all. Last season, Thomson shuffled save opportunities among Seranthony Domínguez, José Alvarado, David Robertson and Zach Eflin, among others.
It is most likely that Kimbrel joins a late-inning mix with Domínguez and Alvarado. Matt Strahm, Connor Brogdon and Andrew Bellatti are expected to see important work in the late innings, too.
Kimbrel has had an interesting past couple of seasons. He had a 0.49 ERA and 23 saves with the Cubs in 2021, before they traded him to the White Sox. Kimbrel posted a 5.09 ERA in 24 appearances down the stretch. He joined the Dodgers last offseason via a trade, posting a 3.75 ERA in 63 appearances. But he pitched inconsistently, holding right-handers to a .576 OPS and left-handers to a .778 OPS.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts removed Kimbrel as closer in September, then left him off the NLDS roster.
Kimbrel finished with 72 strikeouts over 60 innings, but his 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings was by far the lowest rate of his career. He hasn't had fewer than 13.0 strikeouts per nine in any other season.
Kimbrel, who had a 1.91 ERA from 2010-18, has a 3.70 ERA in the four seasons since. Overall, the eight-time All-Star will enter 2023 with a 2.31 ERA in 13 seasons with the Braves, Cubs, Red Sox, Padres, White Sox and Dodgers.