The Brewers had a really good bullpen in 2018, but signing Craig Kimbrel could elevate it to greatness for the 2019 season.
There are quite a few ways for MLB teams to build themselves into legitimate World Series contenders. Apparently the Brewers believe the best path to postseason glory lies in the bullpen. That’s why they’re working hard to sign Craig Kimbrel before the 2019 regular season begins.
Jon Heyman characterizes the talks between Milwaukee officials and the former Red Sox closer as “pretty serious.” No one claims that a deal between the two sides is imminent, but things can move pretty quickly this close to Opening Day. The Brewers are already running out of time to bring Kimbrel into the fold if they want him to be up and running when the regular season begins.
It’s not as if the Brewers don’t have a good bullpen already. It was arguably the biggest strength Milwaukee had last year. Dominant hurlers like Jeremy Jeffress and Josh Hader are back again this season. When making a list of the Brewers biggest needs it would certainly take a while before arriving at the bullpen.
Milwaukee is still smart to investigate what it might take to sign Kimbrel. It’s safe to assume that the massive contract demands he reportedly wanted earlier have declined as Opening Day draws near. In particular, it’s likely the Brewers can ink Kimbrel to a deal that won’t over-commit to him in terms of years. The talented closer will still want a lot of money, but he might be open to taking a short-term contract at this point in the free agency process.
If the Brewers can sign him to a team-friendly deal it would be a great example of doubling down on a position of strength. Teams that sit back and rest on their positions of power typically find themselves in decline. Franchises that are always looking to upgrade every aspect of their roster are the ones that usually play in the postseason.
Kimbrel doesn’t fill a big need for Milwaukee, but he can take their talent to the next level. It makes perfect sense for the Brewers to try to snag the best closer on the market right before Opening Day arrives.