Winners of 111 games during the regular season—tied for the fourth-most in MLB history—the Dodgers trimmed their roster to 26 ahead of Tuesday night’s playoff opener against the Padres, with pitchers Craig Kimbrel and David Price both excluded.
An eight-time All-Star and MLB’s active leader in career saves with 394 (seventh all-time), Kimbrel was recently demoted after spending much of the season as L.A.’s closer, ultimately converting 22-of-27 save opportunities with a 3.75 ERA. Unless an injury arises that would open a spot for him on the active roster, it appears we won’t be hearing “Let It Go,” the song Kimbrel has entered games to since August, at Dodger Stadium this postseason.
In Kimbrel’s stead, the Dodgers figure to employ a committee approach in the ninth inning, with manager Dave Roberts determining who closes on a case-by-case basis. Veteran Chris Martin, flamethrower Brusdar Graterol and even Blake Treinen, who has only made five appearances this year while battling injuries, are all candidates to fill that role.
Price, Kimbrel’s Red Sox teammate when they beat the Dodgers in the 2018 World Series, was also snubbed from the NLDS roster, failing to make the team despite a 2.45 ERA over 40 1/3 innings. The former Cy Young winner, who transitioned to the bullpen upon joining the Dodgers in 2020, had planned to retire anyway, capping a brilliant career that spanned 14 major-league seasons.
Seeking their second title in three years, the Dodgers enter October as prohibitive World Series favorites, led by National League ERA leader Julio Urias, former MVP Mookie Betts, free-agent-to-be Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman, with the latter finishing runner-up to Jeff McNeil in this year’s NL batting race.