Dodgers Acquire Craig Kimbrel from White Sox for AJ Pollock, Plus 2022 Record Prediction

As I was writing the article I had previously started, there was some breaking news happening. At first I believed it was an April Fools joke, but it is not.

Mark Feinsand has reported that the Dodgers have traded outfielder AJ Pollock to the White Sox for reliever Craig Kimbrel. The Dodgers will also play part of Pollock’s deal in the contract.

So now the Dodgers could turn to Kimbrel to close games after the franchise leader in saves, Kenley Jansen, was signed by the Atlanta Braves.

Kimbrel is set to make $16 million this year, while Pollock is making $10 million this season and has a $10 million player option for 2023 that includes a $5 million buyout.

Pollock had a nice 2021 season, hitting 21 homers with an batting average of .297 and appearing in 117 games. Kimbrel, who has been one of the best closers in the game for quite a while, spent 2021 with the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox.

The 33-year-old, who is a former eight-time All Star, could slide directly into the closer’s role. In 63 games last year, Kimbrel posted a 2.26 ERA and posted 24 saves. Some of you may remember he was part of the Cubs combined no hitter, which was against the Dodgers.

Kimbrel posted a 0.49 ERA with the Cubs in 39 games; however, once he was traded to the White Sox his ERA was 5.03 throughout 24 games.

So now the Dodgers, who hadn’t named Jansen’s replacement, get their closer, while the White Sox get their right fielder.

***

Last season, I came so close to accurately predicting the Dodgers regular season record. In 2020, I fell short by two games, and in 2021 I feel short by one game. While that isn’t a bad track record, I’d like to make progress and do it right on the spot this year.

It’s no secret the Dodgers are expected to be among the favorites to win the World Series this year, as has been the case for nearly the last decade.

This offseason the Dodgers lost a couple of big names such as Corey Seager, Jansen and Max Scherzer. While those are players you certainly do not want to lose, but if a team can afford to lose players of that caliber and still contend, it is the Dodgers.

The Dodgers lose a former World Series MVP in Seager to the Texas Rangers, so what do they do? They add a former N.L. MVP and one of the best hitters in the game in Freddie Freeman.

The Dodger clubhouse now carries three former MVPs, and two former Cy Young winners. Part of the reason the Dodgers can afford to lose players such as Seager and still contend is due to their developmental system. The Dodger farm system was ranked fifth in the league by MLB.com, and has fiddled or been in the top 10 for quite a while now.

In each of the last two full seasons, the Dodgers have won a franchise record 106 games. Even though last season was a carousel of injuries with several key players missing an extended amount of time, the Dodgers managed to have the second best record in the MLB.

So, where does that leave the 2022 squad? I see them winning around 100 games again. Yes, it is no easy task, but I think they can get it done again.

In the NL West Division, the Dodgers are the favorite after the Giants won 107 games in 2021. It is highly unlikely that will be replicated.

My official prediction for the Dodgers 2022 season record is 102-60. We’ll see what happens, and we certainly hope the team can stay healthy this year.

34 thoughts on “Dodgers Acquire Craig Kimbrel from White Sox for AJ Pollock, Plus 2022 Record Prediction

  1. This opens up an outfield slot for the Dodgers I wonder if this means Lamb will make the team? I had hoped the Dodgers would rely more on some of the younger pitchers. But they are obviously committed to going all in this year. Price looked good in his outing. Heaney and Bellinger are scaring me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to believe it more opens up a spot for Pillar who is an accomplished defensive OF who also runs well. Lamb has little experience in OF, so feel they would rather go defense first and Pillar is as good or better offensively when comparing career numbers, while Lamb has more power. Then it comes down to keeping Lamb or Rios. I’m thinking they park Lamb at AAA in case JT goes down with injury.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can see a platoon out there. Pillar and Lamb. Or Pillar and Lux. Or Taylor, Lamux and….

        I don’t know what this means for left field but I’m pretty sure it means the Dodgers don’t trust Treinen with the 9th.

        I’m not sure about this. He’s basically the same age as Jansen and we’re paying him what the Braves are paying Kenley. Granted, it’s for one year, but, Jansen or Kimbrel? Jansen actually projects slightly better.

        Like

      2. I actually thought pillar was farm backup for left and centre field. Who knows now. We could send out a lineup with 3 players hitting below the mendoza line. When are they gojng to send down the remaining farm hands so we can see what’s left. We now don’t have a left fielder or 2nd baseman. Yikes.

        Like

      1. Baseball will never make me cry. Bellinger hitting .150 in May will only make me ask – why is he still in the lineup?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I worry as he continues to move his head when he swings. It is impossible to track the ball when moving your head around. That is something everyone knows so it’s concerning Bellinger continues to have such bad form. So that infers he isn’t listening to his coaches which leads one to believe he is a head case.

        Like

      3. Why isn’t he listening to coaches? If they talk like Roberts does then it wouldn’t do much good to listen.

        Spread your feet, bend your knees, on the windup just lean back on your left leg a bit, on the pitch release, recognize spin, squash the bug and throw, chin to shoulder. It’s hitting instruction that goes back to Little League.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I have not read a single story that say’s he is not listening to his coaches. There was a story yesterday where both Brown and RVS were saying he is doing everything they want him to do. He is like learning to hit all over because he finally has the strength in his shoulder back. There is not one single poster here or anywhere else who knows exactly what is going on at the training camp. They do not teach guys to hit like that anymore.

        Like

      5. I have not read anything about his attitude. It’s his willingness to change that appears to be the problem. He changed his stance and approach in the playoffs willing to make contact rather than attempting to hit the ball to another zip code. He apparently feels he needs to hit the ball with massive power instead of hitting the ball to all fields. He should look at Freeman. Freeman especially with runners on makes contact and will go the other way to advance the runners or score them. Freeman, both Turners, Betts are all solid in their approach. Bellinger might as well close his eyes and swing as bobbing his head he cannot see a late break or know wear the pitch is. Scoop is right this is hitting 101. Watch hitters in slo mo. The good hitters are rock solid on their approach. That is what puzzles me is every professional baseball analyst says the exact same thing about Bellinger about his stance and moving head. I played in JC the coaches back then were adamant about stance. No one can move like that and hit for a decent average.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. It appears so to you. If you look at the stance he has used the last three games it is exactly the same stance he used at the end of last year when he got hot. You guys amaze me, Worring about spring stats and what he is doing now is a waste of energy. He has a different body type than Freeman. So why in the wide wide world of sports should he look at Freddie? I did not see anyone bitching about his style of hitting his MVP season because he was using the same stance and actions then that he was using when he wasn’t hitting last year. Not one single person on any baseball blog who does not have inside information has any clue how he is responding to the coaches or their suggestions. It just chaffs my butt that I hear a bunch of people who couldn’t hit a changeup and never have played the game at his level criticizing someone when they have absolutely no clue what the hell is happening.

        Like

      7. Listen to the retired guys. Garcia pars, Monday, ARod they all have talked about his stance being a problem. We all get it u love Bellinger. We all sincerely hope he gets his head straight and hits the damn ball. The last game he actually made good contact I hope it continues and he has an MVP season. But I think he may be a head case.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. You are entitled to your opinion T. Even when it is not backed by facts and is totally wrong.

        Like

      9. I’m sure the coaches have sat and reviewed film with him. Probably from his MVP season as well as since then. Change is not always easy and takes some time to “get it”. He is still young and will be OK.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. You cannot even hit a stationary golf ball consistently if your head is moving and your body is swaying. So to hit a 95 mph fastball or 85 mph slider you better keep your head and eyes on the ball.
        He’ll figure it out.
        I predict.260 and 35 HRs and comeback POY.

        Like

      11. “They do not teach guys to hit like that anymore.“

        That’s true. They teach all or nothing. Well, they’re getting the nothing. I say find contact for a while and ease yourself back into all or nothing. He’s done some of it. He’s widened his stance. Now bend the knees and hinge the hips. Standing straight up guarantees a head bob as the first move in any sport comes from the “athletic position”.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. I’m betting he’s the only roster player left in the league hitting 150. You can’t go from being that good to that bad at his young age. There are people on staff that are paid to know what he is doing wrong and correct it. If they can’t after 3 years maybe he is a head case.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Can’t the Dodgers do one thing that leaves my blood pressure at normal? Couldn’t they have traded for someone with a spring training ERA less than 54 and WHIP less than 6? Someone’s getting hosed on this trade, and it could be the Dodgers or the WhiteSox. Or both.

    Like

  3. I think pillar stays with the big club, and plays left, and sometimes platoons with Lux.
    I predict a 104/58 record for the 2022 Dodgers.
    Start writing down the predictions Jose, winner gets one of Bears baseball cards.😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I see it this way
      C Smith
      1B Freeman
      2B Lux
      3B JT
      SS TT
      LF Taylor
      CF Bellinger
      RF Betts
      DH Muncy
      Bench Barnes, Alberto, Pillar, Rios
      AAA insurance Lamb

      My guess for typical batting order
      1 Betts
      2 Freeman
      3 TT
      4 Muncy
      5 JT
      6 Bellinger
      7 Smith
      8 Lux
      9Taylor
      Some of this is due to Roberts propensity for alternating R L R etc
      Personally I would bat Muncy 2nd because he walks a lot with Freeman 4th. The rest based on match ups

      We will soon find out.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. A lot of folks are penciling in Lux at second. I have. But, I did use a pencil.

    Yeah we traded 3+ WAR for 2+ WAR, but, since we will win the Division with a week to spare this move is for the playoffs. I’m using a pencil with that prediction too.

    I have the same starters as Gary, and I understand the left right thing, but looking at that lineup I question batting Freeman in front of Turner. Betts leads off, but I think I prefer Turner in the two hole. He has more equal splits than Freeman and obviously has more speed. Freeman career WRISP OPS is .987. That said, no matter how it is set it up that has to be the best first inning lineup in baseball.

    Like

  5. Angels pulled a Freidman and DFA’d Upton who is owed 28 mil this season. Scherzer in doubt for opening day with a strained hammy. Mets rotation takes another hit. They are talking trade with the Padres about Hosmer and Paddack. If they want Paddack, they have to take Hosmer, even though he is flotsam with Alonso entrenched at first.

    Like

    1. I think Upton was having a good Spring. Maybe the Angels are hoping there will be a little bidding war for Uption so they can get a little money back on his salary.

      Like

    2. I saw Upton hit a home run at Chase that landed next to the restaurant out in left. I think it was around 480’. I believe there is a marker where it landed. Looked like a 5 iron shot. Nobody in the outfield moved. He came up at 19 and everyone in Arizona thought he would be an All Star every year for the next 15 years. Didn’t work out that way. He was one of those guys that put on a show during batting practice, but often looked like he was easy to fool. Career .814 OPS. Not bad. All hit, not much field.

      Willie Mays is listed at 5’10 170 pounds at BR. That can’t be right. 5’11” 180 is more like it. Still, compared to today’s players? Both he and Mantle, under 6’, less than 200. Both could bunt, both could hit behind runners, though I doubt they were asked to much.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I read that Bellinger’s shoulder is tighter after surgery. Apparently it was loose when it more easily popped out of place. That could be true but if he adjusts to his new shoulder tightness, I would think his big swing and head movement will not play well with age.

    I wanted to trade Bellinger for Buxton. I also wanted to trade some good prospects for Olsen but I am now happy with Freeman. I just wanted the younger Olsen.

    The Dodgers were trying to reduce payroll before offering Jansen a contract. Also, it now appears the Dodgers had been trying to trade Pollock for two weeks. I am assuming trading Pollock for Kimbrel was Plan B. I wonder what their Plan A was regarding a Pollock trade.

    I like depth and a strong bench but I don’t like putting someone like Taylor or Pollock on the bench. Both should start or one should be traded. I think the Dodgers agreed, especially with them sitting at about $2M over the highest CBT penalty level. Now they need to figure out a way to shed about $3M from their AAV. Could that be Price or will it wind up being Bauer?

    Which brings up the question, can Bauer be traded before any decision is made by the Commissioner’s office? With deGrom and Scherzer more questionable health wise, are the Mets hungry enough to trade for Bauer? And, no, I don’t want Cano. Did the Mets buy insurance for Scherzer? Would the Angels want Price? Do the Dodgers have enough rotation depth to trade one or both?

    I still predict Lux will be the starting second baseman. I would still trade Bellinger for Buxton in a heartbeat. Maybe a three team trade where Bellinger goes to the Yankees, Hicks to the Twins, and Buxton to the Dodgers plus whatever money or other players would be involved to make it happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I disagree with you guys about Lux, I think max is going to play second, with a few days of DH here and there, and Lux being the lefty hitting version of CT3, playing multi positions.

    Like

    1. I think another possibility is that Alberto plats 2B against LH starters. Lux will get starts at 2B and LF, but CT3 will be primary guy in LF. Muncy will DH and get spot starts at 2B, 1B and 3B, when Turner and Freeman either DH or get a day off.

      Like

    2. I’d like to give a strong argument on Lux’s behalf but I can’t. I think he will be given opportunity but I also think he will be on a short leash. It’s his time.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.