Jim Bowden: Nats are 'not in' on Craig Kimbrel

Brian Tinsman
March 11, 2019 - 12:07 am

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


Craig Kimbrel won't be bringing his unorthodox windup to a mound near the Washington Nationals any time soon--unless he's with the visiting team.

According to MLB insider Jim Bowden, the Nats are still resistant to adding the high-priced closer to a bullpen that already includes multiple veteran closers:

The likely reason, not stated in the tweet, is that the Nats are reportedly very resistant to spending a third-straight season above the luxury tax threshold.

MLB technically has no salary cap, but there is a line designed to keep major market teams from steamrolling the smaller budget teams. 

The Nats are only a few million dollars shy of the line now, and are famously active at the trade deadline each summer. Having this cushion now can allow them to make the decision of whether or not to cross the threshold with a competitive team later this season.

Kimbrel is one of the best available free agents at any position this offseason, and is one of many surprises to still be available this far into Spring Training. This could be especially perplexing to his agent, Dave Meter, who started off the offseason claiming that Kimbrel was "the greatest of all time."

Indeed, Kimbrel boasts a 1.91 ERA in 542 games, with 333 saves and a career WAR of 20.2. Hypothetically, he could join a bullpen in Washington that already has Sean Doolittle, Trevor Rosenthal and Kyle Barraclough. The team did make the surprising move of releasing Sammy Solis over the weekend, but there was no corresponding move with Kimbrel.

The silver lining in this is that at least the Braves are also resistant to signing Kimbrel, for whatever reasons.


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