The Washington Nationals bullpen needs help, but Craig Kimbrel won’t be its savior. The 2018 World Series Champion is headed to the Chicago Cubs.
That wish will not be fulfilled.
Last night, Ken Rosenthal reported that Kimbrel and the Chicago Cubs agreed to a deal, sending the free agent closer to the North Side.
Rosenthal followed up his report by adding the deal is worth nearly $45 million over three years.
With Kimbrel finally finding a home, there are both positives and negatives to the decision.
Obviously, Kimbrel not in a Curly W uniform has cost and will cost the Nationals wins. The Nats have allowed 60 earned runs in the eighth inning this season, by far the most in Major League Baseball.
The Nationals own the worst bullpen in the MLB, one that, at this point, will prevent the Nats from making a postseason run.
While the Nats have not provided an official reason for not pursuing Kimbrel with more vigor, the widely held belief is that the Lerner family was not willing to go over the luxury tax.
Despite spending over $200 million on this year’s roster, the owners were afraid of a small tax (in comparison) to put this year’s team in real World Series contention.
All in all, it is incredibly disappointing that this year’s exceptionally talented team might be watching baseball in October from their couches rather than in a stadium’s dugout based on this decision.
However, the deed is done. Kimbrel is a Cub. There’s nothing more to speculate on the matter.
If fans are looking for a “glass half full take,” it would be that Kimbrel did not return to the National League East.
Along with the Nationals, the Atlanta Braves were linked to Kimbrel for most of the year. The closer spent the first five seasons of his career in Atlanta, making it a logical landing spot.
Thankfully, for the rest of the division, the Braves were not among the finalists to sign Kimbrel.
Unless a trade is made, the Nats must work with the bullpen they have. If the first third of the season was any clue, the Nats are going to regret their mistake of not pursuing Kimbrel harder.