11:07pm: Kimbrel to the Nats is “further down the road” than reports have indicated, ESPN’s Keith Law tweets.
3:06pm: Though even the biggest-spending MLB franchises routinely bow out of a tit for tat vis-á-vis high-impact rival moves, it appears the Nationals, who Thursday lost star OF Bryce Harper to the hard-charging Phillies, may be poised to strike the next blow. The team has “maintained interest” in free agent reliever Craig Kimbrel, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, who notes that the club “might be willing” to dish out a long-term deal for the righty.
It’s about time for the noise to crank on the market for the star closer, who’s been listening to mostly muffled sounds for months now. Per Rosenthal, the Braves are also “exploring” Kimbrel, 31 in May, but still holding firm to the short-term pact they’ve long desired. Offers and specified durations and dollar amounts are still in the dark, but the urgency to a strike a deal with the flamethrower, especially for teams in the stacked NL East, has now heightened substantially.
The Nationals, per Roster Resource, sit just $4.5MM below the $206MM luxury-tax threshold – which, if eclipsed by the team for the third consecutive season, would require them to pay a 50% tax on every dollar they spend over the limit – and would almost certainly lose their third- and sixth-round draft picks if they were to sign Kimbrel (the team already lost its second- and fifth-rounders after November’s signing of Patrick Corbin). Still, none of it seems an impediment – the club is now just a win or so behind the Phillies in most projected models, and could immediately close the gap with the inking of Kimbrel, who’d almost certainly represent a 1.5-2 win upgrade over any of the gaggle of green arms competing for jobs at the back end of the Nats’ bullpen.
Kimbrel’s 2018 season was arguably his worst – he set career-lows in HR/9 and GB% and walked 4.48 men per nine – but still a top-10 reliever season in the more-difficult American League. Three times the righty has bettered the 3-win mark for a reliever, a staggering stat indeed, and his 19.0 career fWAR already ranks fifth all-time in the three-out era of the modern closer.
The back end of the Nats pen, which features an again-dominant Sean Doolittle at its core, is thin: Trevor Rosenthal returns from Tommy John and is a major question mark, Koda Glover is again hampered by arm issues, and Kyle Barraclough, shipped early on to Washington for international bonus pool money, can’t be counted on to throw strikes. The team doesn’t feature a potential fast-riser, like Philly did last season with Seranthony Dominguez, and the remainder of the bargain bullpen pickups don’t strike fear in any hearts. Kimbrel, though, has, and does, and would.
that last sentence is a bit trippy.
lol yeah it is
Read it in William Shatner’s voice and it will feel much better.
bwahaha…it makes much more sense now. Thanks!
7 words 4 commas
I’ve never seen a writer consistently use so many commas in my life! The comma button on Bradley’s keyboard must emit smoke by the time he’s done with a posting LOL
Johnny Superscouts and now English majors finishing their dissertations
I much prefer the Superscouts. Their discussions are pertinent to the subject matter of the site at least
How many people went back and did that? Guilty.
wait, you guys don’t read everything in Shatner’s voice?
I prefer to use David Attenborough’s voice.
James Earl Jones. FTW.
Ok now its getting crazy!!! I was just watching Blue Planet before I sat down to read this!
>> “Read it in William Shatner’s voice and it will feel much better.”
Turns out, it’s a universal law. Even works with such diverse examples as The Gettysburg Address, and Dylan’s Blowin’ In the Wind.
It’s wigging me out, honestly. There’s nothing structurally wrong with the sentence, but, semantically, I’m not sure it makes sense. Kimbrel “has” struck fear, “does” strike fear, and “would” strike fear? I guess the intention is he’s done it in the past, still does it now, and would still do it if he signed with the nats? I think the “and would” is the culprit here. It is a bit redundant, leading to an unnecessary wordiness. Just weird, weird word choice and sentence structure.
I think the use of two and’s is what is wrong with it. It could be “Kimbrel, though, has, done, and would” seems like it would work better than “Kimbrel, though, had, and done, and would.”.
Honestly they couldve just trimmed the whole thing down go “Kimbrel, though, would.” and they wouldve gotten the same message across.
Exactly, replace the first “and” with a comma. I though “was and is and will always be better in math”…
I think the last sentence strikes us as infelicitous because there’s nothing in the previous sentence to parallel “has.” The previous sentence only uses the present tense – “…[the other pitchers] don’t strike fear…”
So IMO the better sentence would have been
“Kimbrel does, though.”
Or even just
All that said, the author has generated a detailed discussion of this sentence in the comments, which indicates success on his part for at least one of his goals: to get us to pay attention to MLBTR 🙂
This is baseball! Who cares about grammar
“I’m an online grammar God on top of this mountain, bow to me!!!!!!”
Said every mom’s basement fed 25 y.o ever..
I really don’t think that it is mom’s basement types that give these grammar lessons on here all the time. I picture much older people
“Four score and 7 years ago,”
It’s curse of the frustrated former English major. It’s common ailment among sportswriters. They think they can actually write well. They cannot.
I’d like to buy a comma, Pat
Yes, could have been cleaned up better.
Question – I believe the Red Sox receive a 4th round pick when he leaves. Is that more, less, or the same depending on if he signs for over $50 million or less?
This should help you.
Should also be noted the Nats got a pick back for Harper.
Unlike Harper, any contender that gets Kimbrel automatically makes them odds-on favorites. Stacked bullpens win championships, period.
id like to introduce you to the 2017 & 2018 Yankee teams. Stacked bullpen doesn’t always equate
You have a great chance though. Nothing in baseball is certain but you have to put your team in the best position possible to succeed
Kimbrel, stats aside had one amazing year (2017). In 2016 and 2018 his stats look good on paper but those who followed the team know he made Farrell and then Cora nervous. That said, I’d take him back in a heart beat because the Sox last year won in the regular season in spite of their pen. Down the stretch the pen caught fire but no one should forget the first four months.
Put him in any division other than the AL East and he will put up much better numbers.
Not so sure I agree this coming year. Of course the DH is a big difference but the NL seems more balanced top to bottom than its ever been.
You have to use the bullpen though.
The 2018 Milwaukee Brewers are on line 2 when you’re done talking to the Yankees
@yankeepatriot it’s because the Yankee rotation is garbage, they couldn’t alway get a lead for the guys in the pen
True, but of course it wasn’t always the rotation when it came to failing to get their best relievers a lead, because sometimes their offenses craps the bed, but that’s true about every team, though. No matter how good it is.
Ha ha cubs win with Mike Montgomery getting last out to end 108 year curse . I’d rather have 5 max Scherzer’s who go 8 innings than these starters that can’t see lineup 3rd time around .
Haha Royals won with no rotation.
Who wouldn’t want 5 Scherzers?
That makes 10 different eye colors.
I’m Max Scherzer and I approve of this comment.
Ummm Boston?? Bullpen was not stacked. Especially with Kimbrel tipping pitches
Shouldn’t have traded Vasquez and Treinen. I think Rizzo is a good gm but bullpens are his Achilles heel
He’s a good GM because he lucked into #1 picks when sure thing talents were available.
He also fleeced the Padres for Turner and Ross (in exchange for Souza), signed Max Scherzer, draft Anthony Rendon when other clubs thought he was risky and has built division champs in four of the last seven seasons.
Rendon wasn’t risky, he was the consensus top talent in the draft. The reason he fell to 6 is because Boras told the teams in front of the Nats that he wouldn’t sign with them because the Nats were going to give him a boat load of money.
Rizzo is a good GM though no doubt. He seems to do very well in trades and they always manage to get some gems out of their drafts. They’ve had what many consider a weak farm the last several years but still managed to get some good players from it..
Xabial Sox Balls
The Ramos and Gio trades were both wins as well. The Turner and Joe Ross trade was filthy.
“Sure thing” talents dont always work, could probably write a biography on all the ‘can’t miss prospects on any sport.
I didn’t follow him in 2018 but imo his 2015 season was the worst
Great…feels like karma if we are defeated by Realmuto’s Phillies or Kimbrel and the Nats. Hard lines are hard to swallow.
Even harder to snort.
lol! Today’s winner of the internet!
Phillies are still in on Kimbrel.
I think he will only go there on a short term deal, Nationals might be able to offer the long term deal.
Hats history is to offer deferrals that lower the actual value. Might be a Boras type way for Kimbrel and his agent to save face.
They do have room under the luxury tax.
The only chance LM leaves the Braves is if they lose. At this point, the team is already overrated with no chance to win.
liberty media?…I think they truly care less about wins and losses vs. a profitable assett. At least that’s how they present themselves
They present themselves as what they are. A publicly traded company who made this deal solely because it was an advantageous debt swap. If you want to look at people to blame for anything they do look no further than Major League Baseball for allowing it. Though with the way some guys run/ran their teams IE loria, nutting I don’t think they’ll be so bad in comparison.
We were duped and injuries are only magnifying the incompetence of this offseason..
After all the missteps and non moves to make the product much better, I just find myself laughing every time another team in the division takes advantage and rubs our noses in it.
I miss the days of at least buying in bulk and stashing for minimal costs.
The offseason has become my postseason and this has been as disappointing as the wild card infield fly game. It sure would be nice to see SOMEONE in the organization step up and show they care about winning.
Exactly what I thought.
Big difference is Kimbrel hasn’t lost velocity. No team should sign him for multiple years at top tier money unless there’s a modified team option. Perhaps a combination of blown saves, runners he put on base and earned runs. Be creative and reward him handsomely if he returns to the lock down closer he was but also provides a team out should he continue to resemble starter fluid instead of a fire hose.
He’s still throwing as hard as ever, but his lack of command should worry any team offering big guaranteed money for more than a couple of years. He should make the 9th inning exciting for both teams, that’s for sure.
Exactly and while 2018 started late for him due to his child’s health but 2016 was the same. For those old enough to remember, he was Stanhouse 2.0. His manager, Earl Weaver nicknamed him two pack because of all the cigarettes he smoked in the runway when he pitched.
Thanks for that brilliant contribution.
Wonder how many games DC is going to lose because their prima donna closer is standing in the bullpen when the game is on the line in the 8th instead of on the mound, because he gets paid for saves and won’t enter unless a save is a possibility.
Fewer, because Doolittle and Rosenthal will be more available in the 8th.
Question is, would Kimbrel accept a setup role, with Doolittle as the closer?
I understand that pitchers in the bullpen have their specialties but a good, true relief pitcher should be available to handle any situation and the managers should exercise that more frequently. Not that they should overuse them but the whole idea of a one dimensional reliever is absurd.
Honestly, he wouldn’t have a choice. If they told him to go out there he’d go out there.
Scottie Pippen begs to differ.
Per the first sentence, you should never trade tit for tat….the tat’s never big enough….
Lot of words for a “rumor” without much substance. The Nationals “may” be interested in Kimbrel, and “might” be willing to go long term? Thanks a lot.
Not sure if you got lost on your way here, but this is a RUMORS site.
All right! I told you guys Nats were a Dark Horse.
Sadly, I picked Braves for Kimbrel in mlbtr FA contest. ^^
Chicks Dig the Longball
You are going to greatly benefit from the removal of the downvote.
You one of those mindless zombie followers who disliked every one of my posts? (w/o reading)
You are all getting ousted. Stay on topic
How Original. Lol is this clepto?
Chicks Dig the Longball
No I was one of your defenders, but good job being a brat to the few people who have your back.
“was one my defenders…”? past tense 😮
Gentlemen, please, I have been downvoting you both for months. I am the wounded party here.
…though, has, and does, and would.
Or….. we could just write one word replies “downvote” under the comment
My own personal human dislike bar.
It’s said how sensitive the world has become that we can’t downvote or dislike comments on any site anywhere
It’s sad how people think that sensitivity is a bad thing
It’s sad how some people can’t comprehend English correctly.
It’s sad I have nothing to add
Are you one of the unfortunate souls who has been forced to find something else to do with their time now that they cannot spend all day down-voting every single comment for no reason whatsoever?
That’s the reason the down vote has been taken away, And yes, it is sad.
Chicks Dig the Longball
My Rec league also has interest in Kimbrel if the Nats fall through.
Do you drink beer at every base? I’m in if so.
“but still a top-10 reliever season in the more-difficult American League”, why does it always have to be mentioned that the AL is superior to the NL? Does anyone really think that Kimbrel moving to the National League is going to benefit him? There were more losing teams in the AL last year than their were winning teams, but sure, the “more-difficult AL” lol.
The AL has this position called “DH.”
Kimbrel’s success in the AL East is probably more noteworthy than the fact that he pitched in the AL, but to argue that it’s harder to pitch in the AL isn’t quite as ridiculous as you seem to think.
DH is irrelevant here. How often does a closer pitch to the opposing pitcher?
Exactly, the DH is irrelevant to my point. By mentioning that the AL is more-difficult because it has a DH negates the fact that over half of the AL lineups are worse than the NL.
A pinch hitter for the 9 spot isn’t as good as a full time DH.
You’re failing to see my point. Of course a full time DH is a better hitter than a bench option in the NL. But how often does a closer come in and face the 9 spot? Not everytime, and not enough for it to be mentioned that Kimbrel is coming from the “more difficult AL”. If you really think that him not having to face the DH is more important than no longer being able to face teams like the Orioles, Blue Jays, White Sox, Tigers etc, then you really don’t understand my original point, and I don’t think it’s worth continuing to explain.
I’ve never really got into WAR, but I’m pretty sure Craig kimbrel is worth more than 1.5 – 2 wins over a league average reliever
Hard to achieve without soaking up more innings, like Hader or Treinen.
Indeed he is, but not in WAR. WAR doesn’t take into account leverage, so elite relievers are somewhat shafted by the stat. WPA is a better stat for elite relievers.
What projection models show the Nats behind the Phillies? All projections out there show the Nationals followed by the Braves for the NL East. The Phillies are projected at anywhere from 2-6 games off the division lead.
I think the Braves will have a 2016 Astros like season. They didn’t do enough to get better while 3 other teams did
No PECOTA has the Nats and Phils tied at 89 wins, the Mets in 3rd with 87 wins, and the Braves in 4th with 84 wins.
I think those are before the Harper deal.
Projections mean nothing. Nats have been projected to win the division each season for the last 6 years – with Harper, and you see how that turned out. I’m pumped to get this thing started and see how the NL East pans out.
The Nationals would be much better suited trading for a RP at the deadline than getting saddled with another long term contract. Plus Kimberly isn’t worth it
Every time they do that it costs them someone very useful.
Ty love you describing them as having a gaggle of arms as if they have a bunch of geese with Nationals hats on throwing bullpen sessions.
Why would the Nats pay all the money for someone without a head?
Was there an Amy Schumer post on this site that got the downvotes removed?
They want to make sure they don’t advance beyond the divisional round of the playoffs?
I thought Kimbrel would go back to Atlanta..if he did go to the Nationals, that would be big..
I didn’t want him in Philly at what he has been looking for, plus the Phils have 3 closers..then today, I watched the Phillies play the Rays and Seranthony and Hector weren’t missing any bats..so, ummmm, maybe…nah..just kidding
Ok Nationals you go ahead and sign Kimbrel. We’ll just go out and sign some 36 year old pitcher to a minor league contract. So there!!!! Signed, The Mets
And Carlos Gomez!
He might also be a target for the Brewers. Also, when did the downvotes disappear?
xabial broke them. Got so many that the system overloaded with his awfulness.
Better than 100+ years of Cubs’ awfulness.
The first sentence of this article weighs forty pounds.
The commas weigh it down
I’m just gonna say it, if the nats get him and the braves don’t, I’ll lose my freaking mind! Our bullpen was BY FAR our biggest offseason need. In reality, we needed to sign 2-3 elite arms to really improve the team and take us to the next lvl. Our bullpen added so much stress to themselves, our staff, and the team in general. We have a lot of good pieces, but not the elite pieces in that bullpen. Starting pitching has a lot of good, and a lot of young guys ready to take over if someone falls. Our hitting is solid enough and we made decent pick ups. Donaldson prob wasn’t necessary but still a good pick up. But I’d rather take his money and invest in 2-3 elite bullpen arms than get him, mostly cause we have guys that can do they job well
If I’m a Braves fan I’m mad at their offseason. Adding Donaldson and the sitting on your hands isn’t good enough with that the Phillies, Mets, and Nats did.
The better question is, is it further down the road compared to the Braves winning their next division title? I’d guess probably not.
“Kimbrel, though, has, and does, and would.”
Ugh……the writing here sometimes…
tit for tat vis-á-vis?
poised to strike the next blow.?
It’s about time for the noise to crank?
Kimbrel, though, has, and does, and would.?
If MLBRumors is going to get middle school video game reviewers to write baseball articles at least provide some adult supervision/editing.
That last sentence has been shortened to “T,H,AD,AW.” It is an initialism (and Internet slang) to concisely include all the probable variables within a given situation. It is also used to dignify one’s own opinions, most commonly used in chat groups and sports blogs.
Nobody is going to offer him a long term deal
Any team signing him more than three years,are foolish ,especially after a down year
Why in the world wouldn’t the Cardinals be interested in Kimbrel?? Lordy, Brett Cecil is worthless. Cecil is only on the 25 man roster because of the bad contract, huge money issued him by John Mozeliak!!!!
Make this happen. Nats struggled closing games when Doolittle went down last year. Yanks proved deep bullpens can win a lot of games, and given our rotation, this could be the cherry on top.
I’m predicting a 3yr/$54M with the Phillies.
Kimbrel already has a ring, so he’s only singing for top dollar. He could care less about what Philly is trying to build.
Hope he can carry a tune. Lol.