Chicago Cubs: Big-time arms are always a risky move
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On the one hand, Kimbrel has been absolutely dominant for much of his career.
He has a 1.91 career ERA and a 0.920 career WHIP in nine MLB seasons with the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox. He has been named to the All-Star team in seven of those nine seasons.
But on the other hand, it’s always risky to spend big on a reliever. Their seasons can be very volatile, and there is generally another comparable option on the market for a lesser price.
There are plenty of instances where teams have signed closers to expensive, long-term deals, only to see their careers take a major downturn afterward. (For example, the San Francisco Giants and Mark Melancon).
Kimbrel struggled early in the postseason. He gave up at least one run in all but one of his ALDS and ALCS appearances. While he seemed to right the ship in the World Series, there’s still some cause for concern going forward. With any reliever, there’s always a chance for a down year.