The Milwaukee Brewers have been connected to free agent closer Craig Kimbrel over the past couple days. What’s the latest on the Crew’s pursuit of the star reliever?
Earlier on Wednesday, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag sports provided a little more clarification on the phrase “in talks with” in a tweet.
Heyman notes that the talks are “pretty serious” which implies that they are still ongoing and are not just exploratory conversations. These talks have advanced to another stage.
This doesn’t mean a deal is close, but what was once a cloudy picture of the seriousness of the talks has now been made a little bit clearer.
Latest On The Brewers’ Pursuit
But we know Jeremy Jeffress will start the season on the injured list, but concerns about him are minor and he should return mid-to-late April. And according to Robert Murray of The Athletic (subscription required), there’s another issue.
Murray notes that Corey Knebel is dealing with a “tired arm” and has not thrown over the past couple days. He’s said that this is a minor issue and there isn’t any pain, but there could possibly be a larger issue than what they’re letting on.
If Jeffress and Knebel are unable to go to start the season, then the electric trio at the back end of the bullpen is down to an electric uno. Josh Hader is dominant, but he’s not going to be pitching almost every night.
At that point, adding Kimbrel might become more of a need than we originally thought. But at the same time, Kimbrel has not pitched in spring training so far and Opening Day is just a week away. He won’t be ready in time to start the season off either.
At full health, Kimbrel would give the Brewers the best bullpen in the National League, and arguably in all of MLB.
With the status of Knebel up in the air and Jeffress already starting on the shelf, the Milwaukee Brewers are looking for some insurance for that bullpen. And adding arguably the best reliever in the game would be one heck of an insurance policy.
For now, all we know is that talks have gone beyond the exploratory stage and are “pretty serious”, but still no deal is imminent. And with the Knebel and Jeffress issues, adding Kimbrel is looking like a smarter idea by the minute.
The Brewers have been willing to stretch payroll limits in order to win at the big league level, and getting Kimbrel would stretch their payroll even further.