A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Craig Kimbrel

Ok, so Mariano Rivera makes $14.9million a year, and he's the only closer in the game since the days of Sutter, McGraw, Fingers, and Gossage who is worth giving a contract that lasts past the first few years of being determined to be that great.
That said, who the hell determined that adventure waiting to happen that is K-Rod (whether it's with his father in law or on the diamond) is worth a $17.5million option that could AUTOMATICALLY kick in for 2012? Oh, that's right... the Mets former management that isn't calling the shots anymore.
Perhaps that's why K-Rod's sorry self was shipped to the land of Laverne and Shirley. Milwaukee needs a closer that isn't named John Axford (and a first baseman that isn't so chubby that he can't run quickly enough to catch a pop fly behind the bag in the shallow outfield - though 3-run home runs do make up for creating situations that almost let more runs in).
The idea that having a closer that can be bought from outside - instead of developed locally and shipped off to free-spending teams in the offseason - is truly  ridiculous. For instance, Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel is number one in saves right now (28). However, he's 1 blown save off of tieing 5 pitchers for the lead (6). Does this make him elite? There was discussion at the All Star Game last night that he was striking out 15+ batters per 9 innings (adjusted to his minimal 1 inning stint at the end of a game). However, his WHIP is over 1 and his ERA is over 2.00. I know that players can't be perfect all of the time, but when a man comes in throwing flames and breaking pitches with gusto, the game should be 3 up, 3 down... at least every other time (and even then, 1 batter on is more  than enough). And sure, he's getting bottom of the barrel salary to be good, but really? When will his reward come? When will he sign for big bucks in Georgia because Atlanta never really had a great reliever during their run (save when they converted Smoltz to the bullpen and gave him up in their rotation).
And that really is the issue here... free spending and make believe combing to make people think that their team's closer is a worthy part of a long stretch run (ok, in the case of Mariano Rivera, it is, but what other teams? Boston gave up Keith Foulke soon after 2004. The Yankees gave up John Wettland after 1996 added Rich Gossage after Sparky Lyle won the Cy Young Award (now that says something).
Is Craig Kimbrel going to be worth millions in free agency?
Is K-Rod really the pitcher that a team wants to pay mega millions to when they're not competing with the division leaders (and let's be honest, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes are flashes in the pan looking for a ticket out of the Big Apple)?
So welcome to Milwaukee, Francisco. Hopefully, you can convince Prince Fielder to stick around for mega millions of his own.

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