The Los Angeles Dodgers don’t know when enough is enough, huh? No matter how much fire power they have, they can always have more. Earlier today, Boys in Blue traded for Chicago White Sox All-Star reliever Craig Kimbrel, giving up quarterback AJ Pollock in the process.
Obviously, this is a great deal for the Dodgers. Since Kenley Jansen signed a one-year, $16 million deal with Atlanta two weeks ago, the Dodgers have been looking for a closer new relationship. Though the team did have some pain relief like Tony Gonsolin, Alex Vesia and Blake Treinen – who not only had closer experience, but actually had 38 saves and a 0.78 ERA against Oakland in 2018 – The Dodgers want someone more recent to succeed as close as possible, and Kimbrel is definitely the right man for the bill.
Kimbrel struggled during his short stint with the White Sox last season. After a resurgent start to the 2021 campaign with the Chicago Cubs helping Kimbrel make his eighth All-Star appearance, Kimbrel fell after making his way to the other side of Windy City. In 24 appearances, Kimbrel posted an ERA of 5.09 and made just one save in 23 innings. However, Kimbrel’s struggles could be attributed to his role with the Sox. Used primarily as an arranger for Liam Hendriks to get closer, Kimbrel couldn’t get used to her new role. He always had trouble being forced into a role other than playing. The only two seasons Kimbrel scored less than 15 saves – 2019 and 2020 – were the only seasons where Kimbrel scored an ERA above 3.50. Obviously, Kimbrel’s struggling was one reason he lost leading roles in those seasons, but Kimbrel isn’t the type of pitcher who could return if pushed into another, less important role in the series. bullpen.
Kimbrel could slide well with the Dodgers bullpen, but there are some concerns. While Dodger Stadium is known for being a player-friendly field, it’s not the most spacious park in the entire MLB. A lot of home runs were done at Chavez Ravine, and with Kimbrel’s career-high 0.63 ball-to-ground ratio – 15th lowest rate of any qualified dropper since 2010 – Kimbrel may have problems with home runs. After all, the Guaranteed Rate Field has home operation element is 124 in 2021, the same coefficient as Dodger Stadium, while Wrigley has only 98.
As for the White Sox, Pollock should add some pop to their lineup which ranked 19th in home runs in 2021. Pollock put up arguably the best season of his career in 2021, racking up 21 dingers with a .297 batting average and 137 OPS+ (career-high). The problem with Pollock has never been production, rather health. Pollock has played in at least 130 games only twice in his career and was sent to IL 10 days twice last year. If healthy, he’s an excellent addition to any squad, but it’s a big if.
Given Kimbrel’s lack of success with the White Sox and the fact that Hendriks has been reassigned to a closer role on the team, the move makes sense for Chicago. The Dodgers have the depth off the field to replace Pollock and want someone closer to genuine to fill the hole Jansen left when he signed for Atlanta. All in all, a deal that’s fair to both sides will help both win the championship in 2022.