One of the most mysterious storylines of the offseason is that Craig Kimbrel has not been signed by a major league team yet. He is still currently watching baseball games on TV, as opposed to watching them from a dug out with a team. Kimbrel was a big part of the Boston Red Sox’s World Series team last year, and yet no team has picked him up yet. When you look at who Kimbrel is as a pitcher and the Cardinals as an organization, it is a perfect match.
The Cardinals bullpen is absolutely horrendous right now. They realistically only have a few guys who can come out and make an impact. Usually, they make an impact but in an extremely negative way by allowing too many runs. Andrew Miller was picked up in the offseason, but he has also been terrible to start the season. There is no better time than right now to pick up Kimbrel.
Looking at the stats, the Cardinals have a 4.11 ERA as a team in general for pitching. For their relievers, Andrew Miller has a 9.82 ERA with six game appearances, Jordan Hicks has a 3.86 ERA in four appearances as well with only one save. Alex Reyes had a 15.00 ERA in four game appearances, but the Cardinals sent him down to Triple-A to correct his issues. They are starting to make the right moves by sending Reyes down, but they need help desperately.
Pitchers that are inconsistent like Dominic Leone and John Gant are having much better starts to the season, but have shown to be unreliable in the past. The Cardinals are relying too much on their bullpen, and they simply do not have the bullpen to be relied upon. Because they are so inconsistent, they are going to run into problems down the line that the team will not be able to recover from. That is where Kimbrel comes in.
Kimbrel has an all-time ERA of 1.91, while averaging around 42 saves a season in his career. He helped close out big games for the Red Sox last year, and was a big part of the success in their bullpen. Although his ERA was a little bit higher last year, it was still significantly better than anyone in the Cardinals bullpen. The closest the Cardinals have to Kimbrel is Hicks, and he is still very young and inexperienced.
In the closer type role, you need a pitcher that is either superiorly talented or has a lot of experience. Kimbrel has that experience. He has been in big games and been on teams that know how to win. That is why the Cardinals need him. The Cardinals are trying to turn it around after the disappointing finish to last year’s season. They lost too many games because of their bullpen. That cannot consistently happen for a team that has World Series aspirations. Suring up the bullpen is too critical to the success of the organization. Frankly, right now it looks like the Cardinals are completely ignoring the bullpen.
Kimbrel is the player that the Cardinals have been looking for in the bullpen. Their situation in the bullpen is exactly like what happened with the big bat in the middle of their lineup. They thought the situation was solved when they got Marcell Ozuna, but Ozuna regressed back to his original form before that break out year in Miami. So, the Cardinals went out and got Paul Goldschmidt, and signed him to a long extension. The same situation almost is happening here with the Cardinals and their bullpen. Andrew Miller was signed, but it is obvious that he is not the fix in the bullpen. They need to save themselves a headache and sign Kimbrel before another contender snatches him.