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Oh What To Do With Craig Kimbrel

We all have seen the struggles of Craig Kimbrel.  He was dominant for so many years. But except for the beginning of 2021, Kimbrel has not been good since 2018.  He has been hot and cold for most of the 2022.  Admittedly I was very hopeful things would turn around for him.  I really liked his original choice of walkout music,  Guns ‘N Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, but when he switched the music to “Let It Go”, something changed for him.  He was exceptional from the night the music changed, August 21, thru September 13.  For those 8 games, 8.1 IP, he did not allow a hit, and only allowed 2 baserunners via walk.  I thought he may have turned the corner.  I even wrote that.

However, for the next 4 games, Kimbrel was scored on in three of them.  In 3.1 IP, he allowed 5 runs, 3 hits, 2 walks, 3 HBP, and 2 HRs.  That is just not acceptable for an ML reliever, much less a closer for a championship aspiring team.  And now, Doc Roberts has made it abundantly clear that Craig will no longer be the Dodgers closer and instead, the team will be going to a closer by committee.


We have witnessed this before.  In 2017, while not a closer, Pedro Báez was left off the 2017 playoff roster.

Then we watched in 2019 when Kenley Jansen was put at the back of the bullpen in the NLDS against Washington.  In 2020, after getting hit hard in Games 3 and 4 in the WS, he was not called when the games got late in Games 5 and 6.  In Game 5, Doc went to 2 rookies, Dustin May and Víctor González before bringing in Blake Treinen to close it.  In Game 6, there were 7 pitchers call upon, and none named Kenley Jansen.

As good as Kimbrel has been throughout his career, he has not been good in the playoffs.  In 23 games and 24.0 IP, Craig has allowed 13 runs, 17 hits, 15 BB, 3 HBP, and 3HRs.  He has a post season career ERA of 4.13.  That does not bode well for the use of Kimbrel in the postseason.

I know there are calls for Kimbrel to be left off the playoff roster, and with the potential number of options available, I would not be at all surprised if Craig was left off.  Báez was a Doc favorite and a lifelong Dodger, and AF/FZ/Doc did not hesitate to leave Pedro off the 2017 playoff roster.  Kimbrel does not have that legacy, so it is not implausible that he would be left off if others shine over the next two weeks, regardless as to what the back of his baseball card says.  Interestingly enough, the one pitcher who was effective on an otherwise worthless LAD pitcher’s night, was in fact Craig Kimbrel.

Closer by committee?  For me that is a nebulous term.  Right or wrong, I have always preferred that one guy to come in the 9th and shut it down.  The Dodgers will have multiple options who can close, but I do not think it will be just one.  If Blake Treinen or Daniel Hudson were available, they would be logical choices.

Without Hudson and probably without Treinen, who would you trust to get three outs in the 9th.



I would be comfortable with any of those as committee members.  I did not include Yency Almonte only because he is still rehabbing with OKC.  In his 2nd rehab game on Friday night, he pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout on 7 pitches, all strikes.  He will get another inning on Sunday, and then should be activated for the Padres series.

I do believe that David Price will get a good opportunity to make the roster, but I doubt that he would be asked to close.  Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May will have much to say about making the roster, and their inclusion means others will be left off.  I think Phil Bickford played himself out of a playoff roster spot.

So much still to be determined, but it is getting precariously close to having Craig Kimbrel on the outside looking in.


MiLB Summary


OKC Dodgers 2 vs El Paso Chihuahuas (San Diego ) 6

OKC dropped to 3.0 games behind El Paso with 5 to play.  The magic number for El Paso is 3.

Keegan Curtis and Justin Hagenman were jumped on during the first two innings allowing all 6 runs, with Hagenman allowing a 3-run HR and a 2-run HR.  After the second HR, 5 pitchers pitched 6.1 hitless and scoreless innings, with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts.  But the damage was done, and the Dodgers bats continued to slumber.

The two runs were a result of solo HRs by Jason Martin (32) and Hunter Feduccia (7).  Martin was the only OKC Dodger to get 2 hits.


Box Score


The Dodgers got that one out of the way.  Now they can concentrate on winning the series.  We witnessed history.  Who cannot be happy for Tio Albert?  If it wasn’t going to be in St. Louis, it had to be Dodger Stadium where he got #700.  I don’t think that this is how Phil Bickford wanted to be remembered. But just like Al Downing and Henry Aaron, Bickford will always be tied to Albert Pujols. I was only sorry that it was the Apple TV crew that called it.












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Let him go…


We might need an inning now and then. We don’t know who is and who is ain’t going to be available the rest of the way. Let him pitch with large leads. If there are any.

Anyone want to talk about what happened last night? The LA Times sure didn’t want to.

Fred Vogel

Probably Kahnle, then Phillips, then Martin.
Enough experimenting, get the A Team back on the field and restart the offensive engine before it becomes too offensive for us fans to watch. The team has lost its momentum.The players will have plenty of time to rest after the season.
100% chance I won’t watch another game on Apple+.
Happy for Pujois. Class act.


No need for me to change who I have wanted as closer so it remains Ferguson for me.

Kimbrel with a chip on his shoulder coming into the 6th to pitch could work.

Left field has become K central. The Dodgers have holes in LF, CF, SS, and 3B over the next 5 years and we could see those filled through free agent signings and trades. Or, from within the organization?

Quite a few have said if the Dodgers win the WS Justin might retire. How about this, if the Dodgers don’t win it, will Trea be more likely to sign elsewhere?

I think it would be a shame if Gonsolin and Anderson are not in the playoff rotation because they carried the Dodgers for most of the season. They have earned a spot in the playoff rotation if they are healthy and can go 5+ innings.


I have always thought Trea would head east. No reason for me to think otherwise now.

How will winning it change what we do next year? I don’t think it will. JT has another year in him, though not as an everyday player. A Rios/Turner platoon would work for me. I think. Lux, Mookie, Freeman. Vargas goes to left. Bellinger/Thompson/Outman in center, I don’t know in right. A lot of time to figure that out.

Feels like the wrong time to be resting. I would have preferred that happened in August. It didn’t. Finishing against a Colosucko squad, who’s bags are already packed, won’t be much of a tune up. But these guys know what needs to be done so I expect a ready team for the NLDS

Singing the Blue

I suggested Fergie as our closer a while back, but over his last 3 appearances (3 innings), he’s given up 3 runs on 5 hits. That doesn’t eliminate him from consideration, but it isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.

JT’s pending retirement – he was interviewed yesterday and said that based on what he’s done this year he sees himself playing for a number of years yet. Doesn’t mean that AF will necessarily let him do that with the Dodgers, but based on what he’s contributed since late June, I’m not about to send him packing anytime soon. Seems as though his role of 3B/DH is suiting him just fine.

I could be very wrong about this, but I just don’t see Andrew giving the shortstop job to Lux if Trea leaves. Swanson, Bogaerts and Correa will probably all be available and AF may have his eyes on a trade candidate we haven’t even thought of, but past experience shows us he wants a strong shortstop in the lineup and we certainly don’t have anyone in the minors who fits that description right now. It’s in Trea’s best interest to be vague about where he wants to play in order to get as many bidders involved as possible this winter. In my mind (which is mostly vacant), I’d peg the odds at 60-40 that he comes back.

Tyler Anderson – the Rodney Dangerfield of the Dodger pitching staff. Based on what he’s accomplished this year and the fact that he’s one of only two regular Dodger starters who haven’t been injured, I think he very much deserves to start in the post season. I’m not really sure why there is any question about that, but when I hear Dodger pitching discussed in the media, it seems as though he’s always an after thought.


Do we see a real closer in this bunch? Yet to know who will even be available in two weeks.

I’m hearing it suggested we only need 5 out of our starters. That could be true if we are scoring 5+ a game. I guess I’m suggesting I’m not sold on this bullpen.

60-40. Good numbers, but I see it 60-40 he’s gone. Yes there are other SS’s available. None as good as good a fit as Turner in my estimation.

How much of May will be available in October?


Is that a bar we would need to go over or match? I think Rodón would be worth the same contract here. Do you?

Last edited 1 year ago by Badger

That put the final touch on the trade for him.


Trade? I believe Rodón can opt out.


Oh. That makes sense. My bad.

I would be shocked if Rodón doesn’t opt out.


I’m not much of a fan of Rodón.


I wasn’t. Think I would be now. 5 WAR two years in a row.


Are we expecting anything out of him? Have to be honest, I don’t.


I am.

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