We are now under two weeks until the Craig Kimbrel sweepstakes really begins. Teams, like the Braves, have shied away from the flamethrower due to the impending loss of a draft pick. When the draft takes place on Thursday, June 6th, Killa Craig will likely be answering his phone constantly.
The same could be said for Dallas Keuchel. The lefty bet on himself this offseason and has not signed to this point. “I know what I’m worth”, stated Keuchel when asked why he hasn’t signed with a team at the beginning of the year. The Braves are likely to be looking for both rotation pieces as well as back of the bullpen help.
Kimbrel makes the most sense for Atlanta. Kimbrel spent 2010-14 with Atlanta, where he dominated hitters to the tune of a 1.43 ERA, 14.82 K/9 against 3.36 BB/9 and piled up 186 saves over 289 innings. He is the Braves all-time saves leader — and is a known member of Braves Country. I will be surprised to see him in another uniform on June 7th if he signs day one.
Keuchel is a more interesting option. You have to ask the question, “Is he better than what we have?” — and I’m not sure he is. He would provide depth and a veterans knowledge on a fairly young rotation, but who does he replace? With a career record of 76-63, and an ERA of 3.66, Keuchel has proven to be an effective pitcher — and would definitely make this Braves pitching staff better. The question is simply, “at what cost?”
What Alex Anthopoulos does is way above my paygrade, but I expect him to make at least one of these moves come June 7th. I expect #46 to be coming back to Atlanta, with “Welcome to the Jungle” blaring throughout Atlanta.