Kimbrel is in his baseball-playing prime at 27 years of age. He began his career with the Atlanta Braves and was traded in the winter of 2014-2015 to the San Diego Padres. At that time, the Padres were in win-now mode: that offseason they would sign Kimbrel, along with hard-hitting outfielder Matt Kemp and workhorse starting pitcher James Shields. Now a year removed from that flurry of additions, San Diego is back to rebuilding its base of youthful talent again, and Dave Dombrowski of Boston helped them to that end.
But paying that price is a luxury you can afford when previous GM Ben Cherington stocked your farm with top prospects. Apart from that, Kimbrel is truly a Major League talent. In 6 seasons, he has amassed a 1.63 ERA in 348.1 IP, striking out 563 and featuring a 0.927 WHIP and 14.5 SO/9 rate. What Kimbrel will provide is a young, shut-down closer to replace the aging Koji Uehara. Both Uehara and 7th/8th inning specialist Junichi Tazawa should see increased rest with the presence of Kimbrel.
Kimbrel’s contract keeps him under team control through the 2018 season. At $11MM for 2016 and $13MM for both the 2017 and 2018 seasons, his contract is a hit to the books, but it is a lighter one than that of other recent additions like Pablo Sandoval (weight pun entirely intended).
Though his fastball clocks in at a hard 98 MPH, Kimbrel’s heart is soft: he is the Chairman of Players Curing Kids Cancer. Kimbrel donates $100 when he gets a save and $25 every time he strikes out a batter, giving Sox fans just one more reason to stand up and cheer in the 9th inning.
A year and 10 days ago today, the Boston Celtics traded Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks. Two weeks after being traded that Rajon Rondo admitted to not playing any defense during the tail-end of his Celtics stint. “I haven’t played defense in a couple of years. I’ve been able to hide it with Avery Bradley on the ball.” To a degree, he was right. Avery would often times guard the best backcourt player of opposing teams. But it did come off as someone who didn’t give much of a sh*t on defense.
Among the players the Celtics got back in return were Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson and Jae Crowder, Crowder being the only that would stick beyond the trade deadline that year. Like many people, I thought the Celtics could have done much better on the return, assuming they would try to trade Wright or Nelson.
I had gone down to Dallas a month before the Rondo trade happened to visit my former college roommate, a Mavericks fan. We went to a Mavs game that weekend, and I remember seeing Jae Crowder play. He was a fan favorite down there, in the sense that Scal was in Boston – a super-role player, who hustled a lot and brought the intangibles. I remember my friend kept raving about him, saying how good he’ll be in the league if he just had a better opportunity, and I kept saying “ I really don’t see it, man”.
The Rondo trade cemented what seemed to be a new approach that many didn’t exactly see coming at the time. While the Celtics were stock-piling draft picks left and right by trading Rondo and Jeff Green and flipping those returns for more draft picks and building for the future, they were also quietly accumulating a core of young players who could blossom into defensive assets for the Celtics – players like Jae Crowder.
The Celtics now have 3 of the better defenders in the NBA in Bradley, Smart and Crowder. Between those 3 and the help of the rest of the team, this Celtics defense has been a bend-not-break type of good to start the season. It’s been their defense that has kept them in the game until the end, even when they probably shouldn’t have been with their offense.
The C’s defense is tied for second in the NBA in defensive rating, checking in 97.4. They are bordering the top 5 in points per game allowed, tied with Indiana at 6th with 98.7 ppg allowed. The biggest success however, has been turnovers. Forcing turnovers, has unquestionably kept this team in ball games they shouldn’t have been, and given early leads when things have been going well offensively. Celtics as a team check in at first in the league, forcing 16.6 turnovers a game. They are also 3rd in the league with 19.3 points a game off of turnovers.
As a franchise, the C’s are all in on defense this year. Danny Ainge not only went into rebuild mode when they traded away Rajon Rondo but they started to build a current roster with an emphasis on team defense. It’s been a priority with Ainge and Stevens, and it’s the focal point of this team. While this young team still tries to figure it all out offensively lacking a true superstar that can score, the defense will continue to keep them in games.
Guess what? Gronk is back with more savings tips, brought to you by Capital One. After a whooping of the Washington Redskins on Sunday, the newest Capital One financial advisor took some time this week to serve up some sound financial advice for all you free-spenders. Here’s what we have from Rob this week:
With 360 Savings from Capital One, you can use the My Savings Goals tool to create customized names for each of your savings goals. With Gronk as your personal finance coach, it will feel like he is with you every step of the way; from opening a savings account, to achieving your financial goals, and those big milestones in life:
Gronk helped this couple save for their new house!
Keys to the her first car, and Gronk is riding shot-gun, thanks to his great personal savings tips.
Saving up to buy that party bus you always wanted. Living the Gronk life.
What are you saving for? Tell us by using the hashtag #GRONKonomics
Visit any of the three Capital One Café locations in Boston to learn more.
And be sure to tune in next week to Boston Sports Then & Now for more financial savings tips from Gronk!
Those damn Colts fans will never learn. I guess they NEVER heard of Karma.
Their team is a bunch of rats.
They cheer on a franchise that they stolen from Baltimore and they revel in “AFC Finalist” banners.
Now they brew beer called “Deflator Doppelbock”. Indianapolis brewery Flat 12 (named after Colts QB Andrew Luck who has been nothing but flat vs. the Pats) Bierwerks has created this swill that trolls on Tom Brady & The Patriots which will be released today.
Colts fans enjoy this pint of piss as Patriots fans will savor a warm bowl of this….
Pot Of Baked Beans Goes To Jerry Thornton!
Jerebko, who arrived last year to the Celtics via trade, was a nice complimentary piece off the bench. He will continue to provide ball movement and floor spacing. He resigned for 2 years, $10 million.
Johnson is a much more impactful signing. He was a starter for the Toronto Raptors last year, averaging 9 points, 6 rebounds and 1 block. While those numbers definitely do not pop out of the screen, they are a bit misleading.
The Raptors team Johnson was on last year had a lot more shot takers than shot creators. With Lou Williams, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozen hoisting up around 40 shots a game, there were not many opportunities for Johnson to score.
Johnson will bring to the Celtics solid midrange shooting and good defensive rebounding. While those traits sound familiar to those of Brandon Bass, Johnson is about 5 inches taller than Bass, therefor providing the Celtics opportunity to slot Johnson at the 5 and play small ball. Johnson will be payed $24 million over 2 years.
The Johnson signing probably indicates the end of the Brandon Bass era in Boston. With a crowded front court already on board, it would be unnecessary to resign Bass.
A nice day so far for the Celtics.
Next up, RESIGN JAE CROWDER!!!