Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently relegated Craig Kimbrel from the closer role after an up and down season from the veteran reliever. On Wednesday, despite defending Kimbrel throughout much of the season, Roberts wouldn’t even commit to Kimbrel having a spot on the postseason roster. Via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, Roberts didn’t say either way whether or not Kimbrel would be among the 26 players on the Dodgers roster to start the playoffs.
Dave Roberts on whether he sees Craig Kimbrel on the #Dodgers postseason roster: "Every day is a test. He’s gotta go out there. I’ll keep giving him opportunities when it makes sense and we’ll make decisions as we get down the line."
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) September 28, 2022
“Every day is a test. He’s gotta go out there. I’ll keep giving him opportunities when it makes sense and we’ll make decisions as we get down the line,” said Roberts of Kimbrel.
Roberts had been in Kimbrel’s corner throughout most of the year, frequently defending his role as the closer when reporters would bring up the question after a rough night. It seems that Roberts’ stance on Kimbrel has done a complete 180 however, as now the manager remains noncommital about the veteran seeing the field in October.
It’s certainly a surprising stance from Roberts, but it comes on the heels of the Dodgers activating Yency Almonte from the IL. Since relieving Kimbrel of his duties as the closer, the Dodgers have operated with a closer-by-committee approach, using the likes of Chris Martin, Alex Vesia, Evan Phillips, and Brusdar Graterol making late-inning appearances.
The rest of the Dodgers’ bullpen consists of Tommy Kahnle, Caleb Ferguson, Almonte, Kimbrel and David Price.
This season, Craig Kimbrel has logged a 4.02 ERA across 59 appearances. He’s pitched 56.0 innings with 66 strikeouts, 26 walks, and 22 saves.