The Los Angeles Dodgers are leaving Craig Kimbrel off of their NLDS roster, per Dodgers reporter Blake Harris. The decision to not include Kimbrel, an 8-time All-Star, will catch some fans by surprise. But this is a Dodgers team with legitimate World Series aspirations which can lead to harsh decisions.

Kimbrel’s 3.75 season ERA doesn’t look too bad. But he struggled in many of his outings and blew 5 saves in 2022. He ultimately lost his hold on the Dodgers’ closer role during LA’s stretch run.

One of the main reasons Craig Kimbrel was left off the NLDS roster vs the Padres is due to the Dodgers’ elite pitching depth. They have a number of arms who they feel are more capable than Kimbrel right now. Balancing current impact vs reputation and legacy is a difficult juggling act. Kimbrel’s storied career likely made it tough for Dave Roberts and Los Angeles to make this decision.

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In the end, Dave Roberts knows that his own legacy is on the line. The Dodgers arguably had the most consistent talent on their roster since he took over as manager. However, the team has produced just one World Series championship during his tenure. The 2017 Houston Astros World Series win over LA is still debated due to the cheating scandal, but that still doesn’t justify the Dodgers’ MLB playoff struggles.

The Dodgers feel that Craig Kimbrel’s presence in the bullpen would not provide them with the best opportunity of reaching the World Series right now. There is still a chance that LA adds him to the roster in a potential future series later this postseason.