Craig Kimbrel’s name is still coming up on the trade market, as ESPN’s Buster Olney notes (Twitter links), adding that the Yankees remain positioned to make a run at the Padres’ closer. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted tonight that many outside executives believe that the Yankees will ultimately end up with Kimbrel (though he also points out that industry consensus expected the Yankees to land a top-tier starting pitcher not that long ago as well). Earlier today, ESPN’s Jayson Stark linked the Yankees to Kimbrel as well.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports tonight that the Yankees are still in the mix for Kimbrel and have even expressed a willingness to assume the remaining $28MM or so on Kimbrel’s contract in order to help facilitate a trade. The Astros, too, could be interested in making a “stealth try” for Kimbrel, though their involvement to this point is unknown. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune hears that the Astros are indeed still in on Kimbrel, though tonight’s Carlos Gomez acquisition makes it even less likely that they’ll meet the Padres’ asking price (Twitter link).
The Yankees have been more prominently linked to starting pitching than relief pitching this summer, and those rumors will probably escalate in the wake of today’s injury to Michael Pineda. However, adding an elite reliever to mix in with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances would effectively shorten the game for a potentially shaky rotation (in a similar manner to the Royals’ dominant trio of Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera).
Kimbrel got off to a rough start this season, surrendering three early homers that caused his ERA to balloon to a much higher number than observers are accustomed to see in association with his name. He’s returned to his old form over the past couple of months, surrendering just three earned runs over a span of 25 2/3 innings with a 36-to-10 K/BB ratio in that time. Many reports this evening have pegged the Padres as a team that looks to be on the verge of an exceptionally active finish to the non-waiver trade season, so Kimbrel figures to be one of many Padres that will see his name bounced around the league late tonight and into tomorrow.