Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Roberts Removes Craig Kimbrel from Closer’s Role

Dodger fans rejoice! The day you’ve all been waiting for has finally come!

One day after allowing a go-ahead 9th inning home run, his fifth run allowed in four games, Craig Kimbrel has been removed from the Dodgers’ closer position.

It’s pretty surprising it took this long, considering Kimbrel struggled to throw a clean inning for most of the year, but Dodger fans won’t have to hold their breath in the 9th inning of a one-run game any longer.

The biggest question mark now is who will get that coveted 9th inning role. Roberts said the team will go to a closer-by-committee role for now, as they’ll probably use these next few weeks to see who could close out games in October.

As for Kimbrel, this won’t be the last we see of him just yet.

Roberts will still look to find roles for the 34-year-old — whether it be in a setup role or in the middle innings. Kimbrel had thrown nine straight scoreless and hitless appearances, before serving up a walk-off three-run home run last week. Last night’s home run turned out to be the final straw on what has been a shaky first season in Dodger Blue.

Roberts declined to make any commitments about the postseason roster.

So for Dodger fans who have been calling for a Kimbrel replacement all year long, you’ve at least got your wish for now. But if you were hoping to not see Kimbrel on the postseason roster at all, you’ll have to wait a few more weeks for a decision on that.

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Noah Camras

Noah is an Editor for Dodgers Nation. He graduated from USC in 2022 with a B.A. in Journalism and minor in Sports Media Studies. He's been a Dodger fan his whole life, and his all-time favorite Dodgers are Matt Kemp and Russell Martin.


  1. Sometimes you have someone in the pen who stands out as the most reliable guy to close games, and it just makes sense to save that guy for this role. The Dodgers were hoping they could use their magic on Kimbrel to bring back the glory days, taking him from someone who for the most part should have people wondering whether he belongs on the roster at all to becoming the closer, and even gave him almost a full season to prove himself worthy. Doc is a fabulous manager of course but he does have a glaring weakness, he lives too much on the past, he relies way too much on distant memories to guide his decisions, but even he has his breaking point, and thank God he has finally gotten there.

    This was not a matter of Kimbrel being at the top of his game and struggling just lately. You have to go back 4 years to see genuine closer worthy pitching, aside from the part of last year with the Cubs where he showed he might be finding himself again. Once he went across town to the White Sox, his ERA was back up to over 5 again, like it was the year before, and even though this beats the over 6 he was in 2019, that’s not closer type of numbers.

    When you need to have a bigger lead to be comfortable with your closer, then this is not your guy, and Kimbrel had us holding our breath even being up 3 runs in the 9th. When you can make at least a legitimate argument that Hanser Alberto has shown us he’s more suitable as the closer than you, who also sports a better ERA, we’re well into the realm of it being ridiculous for you to stay in the role.

    Depending on how we make out with the guys who may be ready for the post season, I’m not e even sure that Kimbrel deserves to even be among the 13. Grove is just filling the #14 spot, although Pepiot should be getting these starts instead, but beyond that we’re into the regulars, and aside from Bickford, Kimbrel’s name is at least in the discussion.

    1. Ken, was this comment meant for The Sporting News ? Most DN readers won’t look at anything longer than 3 sentences.

  2. I nominate Phillip’s . So far the only guy who has been over powering hitters and commanding pitches.
    He’s been the guy you needed all along. Give him a chance, he wont let
    You down.

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