Craig Kimbrel needs to be dropped from the Dodgers post-season roster.
Undoubtedly, LA – the favorite team of the 2022 World Series – will definitely win its 9th NL West title in 10 years. And they could even challenge the MLB’s single-season winning record, despite its closer struggles.
But the 34-year-old right winger is so bad that the Dodgers shouldn’t even trust him in low leverage situations.
After Tuesday’s unfortunate savings – which I think everyone and their moms expect to happen – he moved into 3-5th of the year with an ERA of 4.57.
You might say, “He’s only made four saves, he can’t be that bad!” First of all, you probably won’t say it. But either way, let me run through some numbers.
Kimbrel has made 44 appearances this season. Of the 36 of them, he allows at least one to run the base. Of the 33 of them, he allows one hit.
Kimbrel’s last appearance where he didn’t allow a base runner was July 13. He’s made 12 appearances since then.
Here’s another one for you. Kimbrel has 20 saves this season. None of those came when he entered a one-run game.
If you’re a closer who can’t get a shutdown inning, I think it’s time to rethink if that’s really the best position for you.
Despite that, manager Dave Roberts continues to stick with “Dirty Craig.”
Fully healthy ( even without Walker Buehler who just went out of business for the year), I can name 14 pitchers more deserving than Kimbrel. They are:
Julio Urias, Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, Dustin May, Blake Treinen, Brusdar Graterol, Caleb Ferguson, Evan Phillips, Yency Almonte, Chris Martin, Alex Vesia and David Price are underrated.
So Kimbrel could be the Dodgers’ 15th best pitcher. And even then, I could make arguments for the likes of Ryan Pepiot, or maybe even Phil Bickford – and I don’t think Bickford should be anywhere near the post-season roster.
But it doesn’t even matter. The maximum number of pitchers allowed on the post-season roster is 13. Craig Kimbrel is not one of the Dodgers’ best 13 pitchers.
So now you might be asking yourself, “Who will play games for the Dodgers in the post-season?”
I’m so glad you asked!
The Dodgers have plenty of people they can trust in highly leveraged positions in the post-season.
The aforementioned Phillips hasn’t allowed a run since July 22, and that’s the only run he’s been allowed to run since May 27. That’s 30 appearances with just one earned run.
Vesia’s last 10 appearances have all been goalless (though he can thank Chris Taylor for keeping his scoreless streak going on Tuesday night).
Almonte, who recently joined IL due to some stress, has thrown 11 innings without scoring in 12 appearances.
Price does not allow running as of July 12th – 11 innings in 11 appearances.
And Ferguson, who made his first appearance of the season on May 17, was not allowed to run the whole season. He has a 0.00 ERA in his 19 appearances. And only three of those appearances were less than one inning (all two innings).
The Dodgers are pre-loaded in ‘pen, and can comfortably approach each board’s playoff times closer, using matches and rotations to keep everyone fresh.
And I didn’t even go into depth about Treinen and Graterol, two of the worst pain relievers in baseball, and have a lot of recent experience in the off-season. Treinen has been rated as the best medicine for this staff.
So that leaves the Dodgers with at least seven people they can comfortably throw in a high leverage position in the ninth inning. And I think May also deserves a look at his return.
If Kimbrel picks a baseball for the Dodgers in October or November, it will be Dave Roberts’ biggest coaching error of the season. Kimbrel would be the reason the Dodgers didn’t win the 2022 World Series. Dave Roberts couldn’t let that happen.