To start, there is no way Craig Kimbrel receives the six-year, $100 million contract he reportedly wished for earlier in the year. While, at this point in his career, Kimbrel has an argument as the second best closing pitcher of all time, no reliever is going to get that kind of deal in today’s MLB.
However, he would still be expensive. A 14-17 million dollar annual salary on a shorter deal is not out of the question considering Kimbrel’s efficiency in recent years. If he can continue this type of career into his 30’s there is strong chance he finds himself in the Hall of Fame one day.
As for what he could do for the Angels, he could shift their bullpen from a reliable unit with upside into an absolute weapon, especially in the postseason. Kimbrel in the ninth is already scary, but Cody Allen in the eighth and Keynan Middleton (once healthy) as their weapon whenever they need him would turn the Angels into a legitimate contender. We saw the Red Sox, and Brewers especially, ride their bullpens for successful playoff runs, and the Angels could do the same in 2019 should they sign Kimbrel.
This one has been a connection that makes too much sense. The Angels signing Dallas Kuechel away from the Houston Astros and improving their own rotation was a dream that seemed all too perfect.
And it has been, as the Angels have yet to be connected to Kuechel and, unless he opts for one-year “prove it” deal, the Halos are likely unable to sign a pitcher of Kuechel’s caliber. However, a ground ball pitcher like Kuechel pitching with an elite defense behind him in Anaheim would be beautiful, especially considering his potential role in the rotation.
Kuechel would probably find himself behind Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney, and serve as the team’s #3 option come the regular season. A former Cy Young winner serving as the team’s third best pitcher is something only the Red Sox can boast, putting the Angels in elite company. It would also create healthy competition between Matt Harvey, Jaime Barria, and Trevor Cahill for the team’s final two spots, which is good for everybody.