Craig Kimbrel could be litmus test for Oakland A’s
By David Hill
This is going to be an interesting offseason for the Oakland A’s. The team is, theoretically, set to win now. However, with an anticipated $58 million increase in salaries through arbitration, and another ten free agents, it remains to be seen how much ownership will be willing to spend. That is particularly the case given that the bullpen needs to be overhauled once again and the A’s may find themselves in need of a completely new outfield.
Closer could also be a potential area of need. Lou Trivino was solid, but he also had a horrendous two week stretch that doomed the A’s to miss the postseason. While they may not be able to afford any of the top closers in free agency, there is one possible option on the trade block – Craig Kimbrel.
Craig Kimbrel could be early test of Oakland A’s offseason
As it is, Kimbrel will not be a bargain. The White Sox are planning on picking up his $16 million option to trade him. For the A’s to even have a chance at his services, the White Sox would need to pick up a large portion of that tab. Considering that Kimbrel may have a robust market despite his struggles in the eighth inning, that does not seem likely.
But Kimbrel could still factor into the A’s mindset. Should they inquire as to his services, and find out the type of prospect cost required to bring him on board, that would be a sign that the A’s still intend on competing in 2022. He does not necessarily need to be acquired for the coming year to have promise.
In a way, Kimbrel is an early litmus test. The A’s have been very cautious when it comes to their wording about the upcoming season, specifying that they will have difficult decisions and that the payroll will be a factor. The question is – how much will they be allowed to spend?
Showing interest in Kimbrel, even if nothing comes of it, could indicate that the A’s have more of a budget than one may expect. It would certainly make sense for ownership to want to maximize this window of contention as much as possible, especially with the city having their votes for Howard Terminal Project. But it all comes down to the almighty dollar.
On paper, Craig Kimbrel makes sense for the Oakland A’s. Their interest level could be a litmus test for their spending plans this offseason.