This past Friday night, the Boston Red Sox received a major boost to the back end of their bullpen, trading for Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres in exchange for prospects.
In my opinion, this move came way out of left field, as the Red Sox seem to be the inaugural guinea pigs of this offseason experiment. As we have seen in previous years, the closer position hasn’t been solidified since the departure of Jonathan Papelbon, who left via free agency to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies for much more money than what the Sox were offering him at the time.
This trade is great for Boston because Kimbrel can be considered a “fireball”. He’s the type of player that you want saving games for your team, especially during the latter stages of the regular campaign. Dave Dombrowski’s first transaction as the organizations general manager seems to be a successful one to say the least. At only 27 years of age, Kimbrel brings a winning mentality to Boston. His record for the Padres this past season was a respectable, 4-2 with 39 saves, posting an ERA of 2.58 in 61 appearances and in 59 1/3 innings pitched.
I look forward to seeing Kimbrel work himself into mid season form, pitching under the bright lights, with the Boston market and media observing him under a microscope. Hopefully, he doesn’t crack under the high pressure and fail to reach astronomical expectations, as so many other young and promising closers have done in the past. Yes, I’m referring to both Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan.
This shouldn’t be the case though as Kimbrel has racked up major accolades throughout his career for a closer. Hopefully, he can continue to bring his dominant approach to the mound, while subsequently adjusting to the style of the American League.