Early-Season MLB Bullpen Woes Could Increase Craig Kimbrel’s Value in Free-Agent Market

Max Staley
World Series - Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Four
World Series - Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Four / Harry How
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Craig Kimbrel is widely regarded as one of the best closers in Major League Baseball, but he's surprisingly still a free agent. The seven-time All-Star's overly ambitious contract demands are likely the reason he remains unsigned, but Kimbrel may not stay a free agent for too much longer.

That's because the early returns from a bunch of MLB bullpens suggest that Kimbrel's demands may not be as outlandish as they once seemed.

Unless these potential World Series contenders drastically improve their respective bullpens, it's tough to see any of them making much noise in the postseason.

The Washington Nationals' bullpen has been particularly horrendous, with a 10.17 ERA. The Chicago Cubs aren't too far behind and adding a player like Kimbrel could help fix their early-season woes.

The Milwaukee Brewers have gotten off to a strong start to the 2019 season, but they've done that in spite of their bullpen's 5.13 ERA. Pairing Kimbrel with Josh Hader could give Milwaukee a top-tier bullpen, which would turn the Brewers' biggest weakness into one of their biggest strengths.

Similarly, the New York Mets are one of the most surprising teams in the MLB this season, but they need to improve their bullpen's 5.93 ERA. Jeurys Familia has been particularly ineffective, posting a 5.40 ERA through five appearances so far. Having a late-inning arm like Kimbrel closing out games for Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom could really boost the Mets' chances of competing for a title this season.

Ultimately, if these bullpens continue to perform this poorly, it's only a matter of time until a team grows desperate enough to give into Kimbrel's contract demands. Kimbrel is reportedly looking for at least a six-year, $100-million deal, and if any of these teams are serious about contending this season, they would be wise to consider bringing the reliever in for a visit.


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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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