With one of the best closers of all-time still on the market, should the Astros look into signing the seven time All-Star?
Last season, Craig Kimbrel set another milestone by winning his first World Series with the Red Sox. It’s another step towards the Hall of Fame and Kimbrel has the ability to make any bullpen better. It’s a surprise that the 31-year old is yet to be signed and the Astros could finally have a dependable closer.
Kimbrel finished last year with a 5-1 record with a 2.74 ERA, he racked up 42 saves and struck out 96 batters in 62 1/3 innings. If you don’t recall, he was traded to Boston in 2016 and won the AL Reliever of the Year award in 2017. Also, Kimbrel is regarded as one of the best closers of all-time, as he is currently 14th on the all-time saves list behind Rollie Fingers. Atop of the active player leaderboard for saves with 333, Kimbrel is also the only pitcher to be awarded as the best reliever in the National and American League.
The missing piece to an already dominant bullpen?
If Houston is able to sign Kimbrel, he will likely take over the closer role which will push Roberto Osuna to become the setup man. Kimbrel will join a stacked bullpen that features Chris Devinski, Ryan Pressly, and Hector Rondon. With the Astros starting rotation in question, they made need a strong bullpen throughout the season. If Kimbrel can be signed, the Astros will have three pitchers under contract who have recorded 30 or more saves during a single season. Many forget that Rondon had 30 saves back in 2015 with Chicago and Osuna had 39 saves back in 2017. This bullpen will become the best in baseball and be able to shutdown opposing hitters late in the ball game. The Astros have seen other AL teams such as the Yankees and Red Sox stack up their bullpen this offseason, it may be time for GM Jeff Luhnow to make a move to compete with these other bullpens.
The Astros primary need isn’t a closer but by adding one of the best in the past decade wouldn’t hurt them. Kimbrel is one of the best relievers in baseball and its been a huge surprise that he hasn’t been signed. While starting pitching may be the primary need for Houston, adding a top-tier closer in a tough American League can only help them as they look to win another World Series.