Last night it was reported that the Brewers have been in discussions with free-agent reliever Craig Kimbrel. A few minutes ago Jon Heyman reported that the talks are “pretty serious.” No word if this rumor comes from his best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend who heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with a girl who saw Kimbrel on the phone with David Stearns at 31 Flavors last night.
Assuming it’s legit — and it sounds it, as it was initially reported by Ken Rosenthal and Robert Murray who tend to get these things right — it’d be a pretty major coup for the Brewers should the talks bear fruit. They already have one of the best bullpens in baseball, featuring All-Stars Jeremy Jeffress, Corey Knebel, and Josh Hader. This year’s addition of Alex Claudio gives them more depth. Putting Kimbrel into that mix would put some serious pressure on Brewers’ opponents to not fall behind early, that’s for sure.
Kimbrel experienced some control issues last year but remained one of the most dominant relievers in the game, registering 42 saves with a 2.74 ERA, 4.5 BB/9, and 13.9 SO/9 through 62.1 innings in 2018.
That he has not signed before now is perceived to be a function of his steep asking price. With Opening Day looming, however, it’s quite possible that has come down considerably and that Brewers are poised to sign an ace reliever for a song.
The Washington Nationals, fresh off signing Stephen Strasburg to a $245 million deal, are now turning their attention to their third base hole. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that they have made inquiries to the Chicago Cubs about trading for Kris Bryant.
Emphasis on the word “inquiry” because it’d be premature for the Cubs to trade Bryant at the moment, even if they are reported to be considering the possibility.
Bryant and the Cubs are awaiting word from an arbitrator about Bryant’s years-old service time grievance. If Bryant wins, he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season. If the Cubs win they control him for two more years. The team may or may not choose to trade him in either case as they are reportedly trying to cut payroll, but the price for him will vary pretty significantly depending on whether or not the acquiring club will receive one or two years of control over the former MVP.
For Washington, this would be a means of replacing free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon. Or, perhaps, the inquiries are a means of creating a tad more leverage for the Nats as they talk to Rendon’s agent about re-signing him.
Which, in the past, the Nats said they could not do if they also re-signed Strasburg, though I suspect that’s just posturing too. They may not want to spend big money to keep their World Series core together, but they can afford it. They’re going to see, I suspect, an eight-figure uptick in revenue by virtue of being the defending World Series champs. They are poised to receive a significant payout as a result of recent rulings in their own multi-year dispute with the Orioles and the MASN network. They are, of course, owned by billionaire real estate moguls. All of that taken together means that, if they choose to, they can bring back Rendon. Assuming he chooses to come back too.
But, if that doesn’t happen, they appear to be giving themselves options at the hot corner.