The Milwaukee Brewers have one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball. One of the key members of that dominant bullpen is Corey Knebel.
This is not good news for the Milwaukee Brewers reliever.
We heard reports last night that Knebel was dealing with a “tired arm” but that the issue was minor and nothing to be concerned about. Apparently the issue is more than they were letting on.
What Does This Mean For Knebel?
Counsell saying that there’s “reason for concern” is obviously…concerning. He’ll see team doctor William Raasch and then next thing you know he’ll be heading to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion. That’s obviously projection and speculation but with elbow concerns, that’s the next step more often than not.
If this is a major UCL concern in that elbow, the 2019 season is in jeopardy for Knebel. If it’s torn and he requires Tommy John, he’ll miss the entire season and join Brent Suter on the rehab path. If he can rehab through it and it’s not completely torn, then he might only miss a couple months.
For all we know, this could be something minor, and in a couple days Knebel will be fine. With an elbow injury, everyone assumes the worst. It may not end up being as bad as everyone thinks right now.
Either way, it’s looking like Knebel will start the season on the injured list.
So Craig Kimbrel Then?
The Knebel news is certainly making the Craig Kimbrel rumors sound a lot more logical at this point. Before, adding Kimbrel seemed like overkill and a luxury addition. Now with Jeremy Jeffress starting the season on the IL and Knebel possibly having a major elbow injury, that dominant bullpen is losing its luster quickly.
Adding Kimbrel would plug that hole perfectly. If Knebel will miss most or all of 2019, Kimbrel is the next best thing the Milwaukee Brewers can do for this bullpen.
Talks are serious between the Brewers and Kimbrel, but there haven’t been any reports of a deal being close. The Crew is clearly concerned about Knebel’s health for this season, which takes Kimbrel from being a luxury addition to a need addition.
Craig Counsell announced that Knebel’s elbow issue is UCL related and he’s heading towards a second opinion.
The good news is that it’s not a complete tear, and that may help him avoid the dreaded Tommy John surgery that would keep him out all season. The interesting piece is that he’s had this elbow issue for a while and pitched through it. How long is a while? Is it a few months or the past year? This is a situation that we’re going to need to keep close eyes on in the coming days and weeks.
So far, Tommy John surgery has not been recommended, but we’ll see what the second opinion brings.
The Milwaukee Brewers have relied on the dominance of their bullpen to be the cornerstone of this team and their World Series hopes. Losing Knebel would cut a huge gash in that group. But Kimbrel would be one heck of a band-aid.