Atlanta Braves

Losing Arodys Vizcaino puts Braves back in Craig Kimbrel market

The Atlanta Braves bullpen already wasn’t that good and losing Arodys Vizcaino has to put them back in on signing Craig Kimbrel.

After allowing seven runs in three innings to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night, the Atlanta Braves carry the seventh-worst bullpen ERA in baseball (5.43). Closer Arodys Vizcaino was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder issue over the weekend, retroactive to last week, but the news got worse on Wednesday.

According to David O’Brien of The Athletic, Vizcaino had surgery to repair his labrum and clean up scar tissue. He is expected to miss the rest of the season, and with that the case he’ll finish with one save and a 2.25 ERA over four appearances in 2019.

A.J. Minter is expected to serve as Atlanta’s closer in Vizcaino’s place. He was part of the problem Tuesday night, allowing three runs in two-thirds of an inning, and he’s now 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA and one save this season.

The Braves discussed a reunion with Craig Kimbrel during the offseason, but the reliever’s asking price and being tied to draft pick compensation surely curbed talks. On Tuesday, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported Kimbrel was “moving closer” to a decision on where to sign.

The Milwaukee Brewers could be in the mix, but with the timing of that report in mind (and Vizcaino going on the IL when he did), the Braves could already be revisiting signing Kimbrel.

The NL East race looks sure to be tight this year, with little margin for error. So the Braves can’t squander a lot of leads in the late innings, obviously, and the bullpen just got worse.

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Kimbrel won’t solve all of Atlanta’s bullpen issues, but he would add a proven arm and allow others to serve in roles that may suit them better.

Getting his arm to where it needs to be is another conversation, but the Braves should be back in the market for Kimbrel, if they aren’t already.

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