The Dodgers announced their roster for the NLDS today, with right-hander Craig Kimbrel not making the cut. Here’s who did make it…
The Dodgers are in the postseason for a tenth consecutive season, winning the NL West in each of those seasons except last year. However, 2022 was the most impressive of the bunch as the club went 111-51, the highest win total in franchise history. They will now face off against division rivals, squaring up against the Padres in a best-of-five series.
Kimbrel’s omission from the roster is the latest step in what has been an extremely mercurial portion of his career. From 2010 to 2018, Kimbrel was one of the most dominant relievers in the sport, pitching to a 1.91 ERA while striking out 41.6% of batters faced and racking up 333 saves.
Since then, however, it’s been a rollercoaster for the righty. He was issued a qualifying offer by the Red Sox after the 2018 season, which he declined. He lingered on the open market all the way until June, eventually signing with the Cubs once the draft had already taken place and he was no longer attached to draft pick forfeiture. After missing nearly half the season, Kimbrel struggled that year by putting up a 6.53 ERA, then struggled again the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign with a 5.28 ERA.
In the first half of 2021, he seemingly got the train back on the tracks, registering a 0.49 ERA over 36 2/3 innings, getting traded from the Cubs to the White Sox. However, the pendulum swung the other way after the trade, with Kimbrel posting a 5.09 ERA after moving across town. Nonetheless, they Sox picked up his $16MM option before trading him to the Dodgers for AJ Pollock. Kimbrel recorded 22 saves for Los Angeles but was eventually moved off the closer role in September and now seems to have dropped far enough on the bullpen chart to be excluded from their playoff plans, unless an injury opens a spot for him down the line. He has a 3.75 ERA on the season, with a 27.7% strikeout rate that’s above league average but well below any of his previous seasons.
The exclusion of Kimbrel might actually say more about the Dodger bullpen than it does about him. Overall, the club’s relievers posted a 2.87 ERA this year, second only to the Astros, though L.A.’s bullpen logged 85 2/3 more innings than Houston’s. Along with quality starting pitching, an elite offense and strong defense, it’s not hard to see how this was the best team in baseball this year.
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