Recently my colleagues – BYB founder Robert Casey and one of BYB’s very best writers Mike O’Hara - had a conversation on twitter speculating about a Yankees pursuit of Craig Kimbrel; star closer for the San Diego Padres. With the trade deadline fast approaching, the potential of a deal for Kimbrel got further fuel with a report on NJ.com (here) that Buster Olney of ESPN said the Yankees could be a potential suiter for the reliever.
Here is the conversation the two BYB greats had:
@BleednYankeeBlu that wouldn't be a bridge, it'd be a waterslide to the W. Kimbrel, DB and Miller? Aka No. F'n. Chance after 6.— Mike O'Hara (@mikeyoh21) July 21, 2015
@mikeyoh21 The idea Is brilliant, but it's an idea. Would the dude actually do that? Take a back seat to closing and become the bridge?— Robert Casey (@BleednYankeeBlu) July 21, 2015
@BleednYankeeBlu Cueto cost one or more of our future studs. A longer bridge means CC has help and Severino get the call. Smart actually.— Mike O'Hara (@mikeyoh21) July 21, 2015
@mikeyoh21 but it's a pipe dream. Yanks can't pull that off unless we give up big time prospects and also get Shields. #NotHappening #BYB— Robert Casey (@BleednYankeeBlu) July 21, 2015
As Mike points out, the addition of Kimbrel as closer of the Bombers would make a lead through 6 innings a near-certain win. The prospects of entering the 7th inning behind and facing Betances, Miller, and then Kimbrel would break the strongest of opponents.@BleednYankeeBlu how long is Kimbrel under SD contract? If we are renting they won't have to give up a big name. Maybe Slade and Gary.— Mike O'Hara (@mikeyoh21) July 21, 2015
In addition to the absolute intimidation the trio brings, Mike also points out that the Yankees starters’ (especially one like CC) jobs would become that much simpler – make it through six innings and “we’ll take it from there”. It saves starters arms and offers the potential for future-star Luis Severino (currently in Scranton) to possibly show his stuff in the Bronx.
Robert, always the voice of reason, counters that obviously the Yankees would have to give up some big prospects to make the deal a reality (Mike threw out the names Slade Heathcott and Gary Sanchez). In addition, they’d have to sell the change to current closer Andrew Miller. Would he actually accept moving back to being a “bridge” to the closer?
While the points Mike makes are mouth-watering to Yankees fans, the question is “Do we really need Kimbrel”? When I look at our current setup, I can’t help but wonder just how much better off we’d really be with the addition of another closer. As it is, Miller is 22 for 22 in saves, and Betances has made the eighth inning his home with a 1.40 ERA, 0.82 WHIP (Walks+ Hits per inning pitched) and opponents’ batting average of .121. Would Kimbrel really make that much more of a difference?
Aside from Betances and Miller, the rest of the relief corps has been pretty good too. The Yankees rank 9th in MLB in ERA from the 7th inning on. They lead MLB in strikeouts over the final three innings, and rank 2nd in opponents’ batting average, 6th in WHIP, and are 4th in HR allowed from the seventh on.
While I wouldn’t reject the Yankees trading for Kimbrel, I do think there are other places the team could improve itself that are of a more dire need.
You don’t have to be “Captain Obvious” to know I think the team desperately needs to cleanse itself of the Brian Cashman/Joe Girardi – Stephen Drew love affair. I’ll spare you another long-winded diatribe as to why I think this team wins in spite of its GM and Manager. Needless to say, we are in first place, but do have weaker areas (second base) more in need of attention than the pitching at the end of games.
I almost always agree with Mike O’Hara. He’s knowledgeable and passionate about Yankees baseball, and someone I admire. In this case, however, I agree with Robert – dealing for Kimbrel is more of a “pipe dream” that could only be pulled off by giving up big time prospects and getting Shields. I just don’t see it happening, and I don’t see it as a primary necessity at this point.
The conversation between Mike and Robert is the perfect example of banter Yankees’ fans have on a daily basis, and the reason why I love writing for BYB. We try to stay on top of the latest rumors and goings-on in Yankees Universe, and do so smartly and respectfully.
It is also an example of the mentality of the Yankees organization and its fans; that while we are doing well and staying in first place, we can always do better. It’s the reason the Yankees are the most successful franchise in sports and why they’ll always own my baseball soul.
--Steve Skinner, BYB Senior Writer
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