Nationals closer would ‘welcome’ addition of Craig Kimbrel
Sean Doolittle would almost certainly lose his job as the closer of the Washington Nationals if the team ends up signing Craig Kimbrel, but the left-hander insists he would be perfectly content if that happened. In fact, he prefers it.
Doolittle, who slid into the closer role in Washington after he was acquired in a trade with the Oakland A’s back in 2017, said this week that he has spoken with Nationals manager Dave Martinez about the possibility of Kimbrel joining the team. He says he already has a spot waiting for Kimbrel in the locker room.
My col: Sean Doolittle, after hearing Nats might be interested in free agent Craig Kimbrel, went to Nats manager Martinez and said, "I have an empty locker next to me, right between me and Trevor Rosenthal…I'd be the 1st guy at the door to welcome him.” Doo The Right Thing!
— Thomas Boswell (@ThomasBoswellWP) March 12, 2019
You have to admire the team-first mentality, especially since Doolittle was lights-out as Washington’s closer last season. He finished the year with a 1.60 ERA and allowed just 21 hits in 45 innings, converting on 25 of 26 save opportunities.
Kimbrel will turn 31 in May, and teams have been hesitant to give him the type of deal he is seeking. While he was shaky in the postseason last year, he’s one of the best closers in MLB history and would further solidify the back of the Nationals’ bullpen. Now that Bryce Harper has signed elsewhere, they certainly have some extra money to spend.