HomeOther Philly SportsCraig Kimbrel attracting attention from American League contender – Phillies Nation

Craig Kimbrel attracting attention from American League contender – Phillies Nation

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Craig Kimbrel spent the 2023 season with the Phillies. (John Adams/Icon Sportswire)

According to Jon Heyman of The New York Post, the Baltimore Orioles have reportedly contacted four free agents with closer experience, including Craig Kimbrel, who spent the 2023 season with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Kimbrel signed a one-year/$10 million deal with the Phillies last offseason, and was a workhorse out of the bullpen in his age-35 season. As the Phillies navigated through multiple injured list stints from José Alvarado and an ineffective campaign from Seranthony Domínguez, Kimbrel appeared in 71 regular season games, logging 69 innings pitched. Kimbrel hadn’t totaled that many innings pitched since 2017 with the Boston Red Sox, and hadn’t appeared in as many games since racking up 79 for the Atlanta Braves in 2011.

But despite posting a 3.26 ERA, recording his 400th save and being picked to appear in his ninth All-Star Game as a Phillie, Kimbrel’s 2023 will be remembered for his nightmarish postseason. Kimbrel posted a 6.00 ERA in six postseason appearances, melting down in Games 3 and 4 of the NLCS against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He spoke exclusively to Phillies Nation after the Phillies lost Game 7 of the NLCS, giving candid answers you can read in the article below.

The Phillies probably should add another veteran reliever to their bullpen this offseason, but it’s hard to imagine a reunion with Kimbrel given how the season concluded. Alvarado, Domínguez, Gregory Soto, Orion Kerkering, Jeff Hoffman and Matt Strahm will all be major parts of the Phillies bullpen in 2024, so there aren’t a ton of spots up for grabs right now.

Nonetheless, Kimbrel would make sense as an addition for a team like the Orioles. Félix Bautista — the 2023 winner of the Mariano Rivera Award, honoring the best reliever in the American League — had Tommy John surgery in October, and will likely miss all of next season. Yennier Canó was one of the breakout stars of the 2023 campaign, but the 101-win Orioles need to add at least one more arm capable of closing out games.

Per Heyman’s report, the Orioles have also contacted free agents Josh Hader, Jordan Hicks and Aroldis Chapman. Kimbrel figures to be significantly cheaper than Hader or Hicks, and even with his flaws acknowledged, Baltimore general manager Mike Elias could do worse than adding a reliever with 417 career saves to his bullpen for a year.

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