On Friday afternoon, it was announced that the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox had agreed to a trade that would send 8x All-Star relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel to LA in exchange for All-Star and Gold Glove outfielder AJ Pollock.
The trade comes in the wake of the Dodgers’ longtime closer Kenley Jansen leaving the team as he signed with the Atlanta Braves back in mid-March. This was a necessary move for LA as Kimbrel is a proven closer whose resume speaks for itself.
He and former teammate Freddie Freeman, who played the first five seasons of their major league careers together with the Atlanta Braves, will now be reunited with a new ballclub where the sky’s the limit. This is also Freeman’s first season with the Dodgers as he and LA agreed on a blockbuster six year deal recently.
Freeman and Kimbrel in LA
The Dodgers’ addition of Kimbrel to the bullpen is a continuation of the momentum they’ve been building on since signing Freeman and re-upping Clayton Kershaw for at least one more season.
The Dodgers were already a top 2022 World Series contender before making any of these moves, but now they’ve slingshot themselves as the clear frontrunner to win this year’s Fall Classic.
Freeman and Kimbrel playing together on the same team again is going to be a great thing for both players and for the team as a whole as the Dodgers begin a new chapter. Both players are over 30 years old, but there is no doubt in any baseball fan’s mind that they can keep up the production they’re known for.
In 2021, Freeman hit .300 with 31 homers, 83 runs batted in and an .896 on-base plus slugging percentage. Kimbrel was similarly impressive as he posted a 2.26 earned run average, a .905 walks + hits per innings pitched rate and earned 24 saves. Kimbrel split last season between the Cubs and White Sox and pitched much more effectively with the Cubs, so it’s understandable that they want to move on in favor of some outfield depth.
The Dodgers will be getting a replacement for Jansen in the closer role and someone who is a proven winner to boot.
Kimbrel and Freeman have played in the postseason together while they were on the Braves, and there’s no reason to think that that won’t continue while they’re both with the Dodgers.
For Dodgers fans, the future could not be brighter right now. This team is the easy favorite to win the World Series in Vegas and the depth of this squad should be terrifying to the rest of the National League West.
After the addition of Freeman, the Dodgers have what is probably the best position player corps of any team in recent memory.
Freeman is accompanied on the infield by catcher Will Smith and Trea and Justin Turner at shortstop and third base, respectively, as well as young second baseman Gavin Lux. Lux will likely be sharing second base with Chris Taylor who is one of the game’s best utility players.
In the outfield it’ll be Taylor along with two MVP’s in Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts. Bellinger had an abysmal 2021 but his ability to be an All-Star is always there. As for Betts, he’s one of the best outfielders in baseball and will continue to be a consistent force in LA’s lineup.
The top three in their starting rotation automatically put it in the top five. Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urias are three of the game’s best hurlers, and like the rest of this team, they’re hungry for another World Series.
Now with the addition of Kimbrel to the bullpen, the Dodgers have what is easily the most well-rounded ballclub in all of baseball. It’s a long season as any fan knows, but right now, count on the Dodgers to be a problem for anyone who has to face them.