Really bad few days to be a former Cubs late-inning reliever, man.
Aroldis Chapman didn’t show up for practice and got the boot. David Robertson got too happy about a dinger and hurt his calf. Scott Effross was about to be a key piece for the Yankees and his elbow popped.
And now the FOURTH former Cubs late-inning reliever to be left off his team’s LDS roster this year, though this one is purely performance related:
Craig Kimbrel, who was so brilliant for the Cubs in late 2020 and the first half of 2021, has struggled so badly since that he’s not even an option for the Dodgers’ bullpen. The bad times started as soon as he joined the White Sox, and they didn’t get much better after a trade to the Dodgers for A.J. Pollock. Although the peripherals weren’t necessarily terrible for Kimbrel this past year, his strikeout rate plummeted, and it seemed like he got knocked around (or get wild) at just the wrong times.
In the end, Kimbrel posted a 3.75 ERA (5% better than league average) over 60.0 innings, but his walk rate really blew up over the final month and a half of the season, and the Dodgers no longer had confidence that he could throw strikes consistently enough to be a useful back-end reliever.
Kimbrel, 34, will be a free agent after the postseason. Some team will try to reclaim him and get him back to where he was with the Cubs (and I wonder aloud if that team should, in fact, just be the Cubs). It’s hard to know if his Hall-of-Fame-trajectory days are behind him, though.