MLB Notebook: Orioles nearing deal with Craig Kimbrel, Angels GM says Mike Trout won’t be traded, and more
By Cam Lewis2 months ago
While the Toronto Blue Jays await the decision of Shohei Ohtani, other things are going on around them in the American league East.
On Tuesday night, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Baltimore Orioles were showing serious interest in closer Craig Kimbrel. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic added to that report on Wednesday morning, saying that the two sides were nearing a contract.
The addition of Kimbrel is to shore up the hole in Baltimore’s bullpen left in Flex Bautista’s absence. The huge right-hander was putting together an incredible campaign for the Orioles in 2023 but he suffered an elbow injury in late August and had to undergo Tommy John surgery. He ultimately finished the season with 33 saves and a 1.48 ERA across 61 innings, with an absurd 16.2 strikeouts per nine.
Kimbrel signed a one-year, $10 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies last winter and put together an All-Star season. The lefty posted a 3.26 ERA over 69 innings and recorded 23 saves while striking out 12.3 batters per nine. Unfortunately, Kimbrel’s year in Philly had a rough finish, as he was charged with two losses in the team’s NLCS loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Baltimore will be the eighth team in the 35-year-old’s big-league career. Between the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, L.A. Dodgers, and Phillies, Kimbrel has racked up 417 saves, which ranks eighth all-time. If the Orioles use him as their closer, Kimbrel will likely be able to jump legends such as Billy Wagner and Francisco Rodriguez for career saves.
Top prospect likely to make Orioles’ Opening Day roster in 2024
Sticking with the Orioles, the team’s general manager, Mike Elias, spoke at the MLB Winter Meetings on Tuesday and revealed that top prospect Jackson Holliday will be given “every opportunity” to make Baltimore’s Opening Day roster come March.
Selected with the first overall pick in the 2022 MLB draft, Holliday came into his first full professional season in 2023 ranked as the league’s 15th-best prospect by Baseball America. At the age of 19, the lefty-hitting shortstop slashed a .323/.442/.499 line over 581 plate appearances between Low-A, High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A.
L.A. Angels GM says Mike Trout won’t be traded
Also from the Winter Meetings, Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian tried to throw some water on the Mike Trout trade rumours, saying that the three-time Most Valuable Player isn’t getting traded. “Mike Trout is not getting traded. One hundred percent,” Minasian said, specifically.
With Shohei Ohtani likely to leave the Angels in free agency this winter, the team is staring down having to undergo a much-needed rebuild, and there’s been plenty of speculation that they’ll try to unload Trout’s massive contract. The 32-year-old appeared in only 82 games last season because of injury and has seven years left on his contract worth $37 million annually.
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