All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel has finally found a new home. But it is not Nationals Park.
The race for Kimbrel heated up on Monday when teams no longer had to give up a compensatory draft pick to sign him. The good news for the Nats is he didn't end up with an NL East rival like the Phillies or the Braves, Kimbrel's former employers.
The bad news, of course, is he won't be joining Washington's bullpen, which still holds the highest bullpen ERA in baseball.
That said, Kimbrel joining the Nats was always a long shot, as Todd Dybas wrote Monday,
"They are desperate to remain under the competitive balance tax this season," wrote Dybas. "They want to save pennies now to save dollars later. It’s short-sighted. But, it’s where they are."
Given the Nats' budgetary constraints and Kimbrel's high salary demands, his path to D.C. faced major complications from the beginning. And if Washington wants to upgrade its bullpen now, it will have to do so via trade, likely giving up a prospect in the process.
The question for the Nationals is who from the farm system they are willing to deal (or others are interested in) for someone (hypothetical) like SF’s Will Smith, a good, low-cost, FA-to-be. Obviously, Carter Kieboom’s stock took a hit from his stint in the majors.— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) June 6, 2019
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