One of the biggest question marks surrounding the Dodgers’ NLDS roster was whether or not Craig Kimbrel would make the cut. After his rocky season, one that saw him get removed from his role as the team’s primary closer, Dave Roberts elected not to put him on there.
It was a huge sigh of relief for Dodger fans everywhere, as I don’t think anyone could’ve handled Kimbrel pitching in an important moment in the NLDS. But it wasn’t an easy decision for the Dodgers’ manager.
In a press conference ahead of Game 1, Roberts spoke about the conversation he had with Kimbrel.
“It was a tough conversation,” Roberts said. “It’s a person, a player I have so much respect for. It hasn’t been a consistent year for him. He accepted the role of getting out of the closer’s role as a professional and was hoping and looking forward to an opportunity here in the DS.”
Unfortunately for Kimbrel, his season long inconsistencies just didn’t allow Roberts to feel comfortable with him on the postseason roster. Especially not ahead of a few other guys in the bullpen.
“We just have other guys that we felt had been more consistent and that match up with these guys better,” Roberts said. “Not to say that it can’t change. My expectation, our expectation, is that Craig will be ready.”
Roberts did make sure to praise his former closer for his role in the team’s 111-win season.
“We wouldn’t be here without him,” Roberts said. “I can’t say enough about the character of Craig Kimbrel because, as a potential Hall of Famer, that’s not an easy conversation. He was very disappointed, as he should.”
Kimbrel will still have an opportunity to make the NLCS roster, should the Dodgers advance. But for now, he’ll be cheering his teammates on as they battle with the Padres.
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