Saturday, November 14, 2015

Confusing Craig Kimbrel Conflict

I'm conflicted. I admit it. 

I'm definitely a "trade" guy. I feel that one of the main purposes of having a great farm system is to be able to package together "potential" for "actual". That was my big disappointment last offseason. The Sox had all these extra prospects. Like a dozen top notch outfielders, it seemed. And they did nothing with them. They went the whole season trying to figure out what to do with their young outfielders. It never really sorted itself out.

So, the idea of doing it again, with even more prospects on the way was a little bit unnerving. Instead of holding all these blocked prospects, they needed to deal them. Just to clear out some space.

But, for a closer? The single most overrated position in the history of sports? I don't know if I can get behind that. Sure, he's an elite arm. In that way, this reminds me of the Keith Foulke signing. Theo didn't gloat that he got a great closer. He said he got a great arm. And, Foulke may have been THE key to the Sox winning the World Series that year. But, most of his value, as was Koji's in 2013, was for things outside the traditional closer role. In the 2004 postseason, he pitched 14 innings in 11 games, with only 3 saves. It wasn't the closer role. It was the bullpen role.

So, from that angle, it makes absolute sense to add Kimbrel as another fantastic arm. The idea of Taz-Koji-Kimbrel to hold a lead after six innings is incredibly enticing. But, did the Sox need to overpay for the closer. Could they have gotten another great arm, without the inflated closer price tag?

I've never had much of a problem with the Larry Anderson trade. Jeff Bagwell was blocked at third behind Wade Boggs, and Scott Cooper. He was blocked at first behind Mo Vaughn. So, he was completely expendable. They traded him for a reliever that helped them win the division. My only "complaint" has been wondering if they could have gotten more. How much of a chip was Bagwell? Could he have gotten a guy for more than a year (or two)? Just because he's trash to you doesn't mean that he should simply be cast aside.

So, I guess that where I am today. I love the idea of getting an elite bullpen arm. It's exactly what the Royals have done to reach the last two World Series. It's something the Sox desperately needed. I also know that Betts and Bogaers (and Castillo and Bradley) were doing a pretty good job of blocking any prospect movement to the big club. For so many prospects. I'm just going to have to trust the Red Sox and assume that Washington wouldn't have traded Strasberg for those same prospects. That this was the going rate for a top notch arm. That Dombrowski isn't just playing with someone else's money. 

Because I can't wait to see Kimbrel in action.

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