Walking back to my apartment last night I checked my phone only to see two Bleacher Report notifications announcing the deal for four-time All Star closer Craig Kimbrel.
Was I dreaming?
Nope. It is the truth, Kimbrel is ours and he will be ours for the next three seasons. Now for those, like me, who are not entirely familiar with Kimbrel’s body of work (because he has spent his career with two non-factor teams (sorry Atlanta and San Diego, it’s true)) let me just run a few numbers by you.
Kimbrel, at 5’11” and 220 pounds, is a stocky power pitcher. His fastball averaged 97.3 mph last season, along with a 95.5 mph two seamer and a 86.8mph knuckle curve. Yeah, he has a knuckle curve. Given his propensity to burry opposing hitters, it really is no wonder at all that he boasts a career ERA of…1.63.
2015 was a down year for the burly closer as he went 4-2 with 39 saves over 59.1 innings while posting a 2.58 ERA along with 87 strikeouts (yeah, a down year), but before then he lead the league in saves for four consecutive years while posting an ERA of 1.51 during that span and averaging 14.6 strikeouts per nine innings along with just 3.1 walks per nine innings. But hey numbers are well and good, but if you want to really get a sense of how nasty he is, check out this video:
Bottom line: Kimbrel is not just good, he is straight up stupid good. He is so good it’s unfair, he’s like a video game character, he’s a fricken glitch in the matrix that shouldn’t exist and he’s all ours. He is our closer for the next three seasons, which gives the Sox a mountain of flexibility and a big weight off their shoulders when it comes to building the bullpen. We currently have a 7-8-9 of Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, and Craig Kimbrel which will scare the living crap out of every single opposing team that finds themselves in a late inning hole. All we need is a lefty, a long man, and maybe another star reliever (Darren O’Day anyone?) and we will be set.
The best part though? That the Sox gave away one good prospect and three no names to get him. Sure losing Manuel Margot hurts, and even Javier Guerra to an extent–but those guys are road blocked with Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo and Xander Bogaerts likely manning their positions for the next five-seven years minimum.
Say what you want but I love this deal, all we gotta do know is sign David Price to a nice fat contract, and trade JBJ, Henry Owens, or Travis Shaw to reel in a stellar No. 2 starter and suddenly the Sox are a force to be reckoned with.
Watch out AL East, DD is in charge and the Sox have come to play hardball.