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Kimbrel is insanely good. The Braves signed him because they think it is a good baseball move; it helps them put a winning team on the field.
Even as great as Kimbrel is, the way closers are used now (only entering games that are already pretty much won) I don't know how much real value you get from that.
Is the gap between Kimbrel and Johnny Average-Closer really that large?
there's really no evidence fans will show up to watch particular stars, over an equivalently talented team with different stars.
Rk Yrs From To Age
1 Mariano Rivera 10 1996 2011 26-41
2 Joe Nathan 5 2004 2013 29-38
3 Billy Wagner 4 1999 2010 27-38
4 John Wetteland 4 1993 1998 26-31
5 Craig Kimbrel 3 2011 2013 23-25
6 Carlos Marmol 3 2007 2010 24-27
7 Emil Kush 3 1946 1948 29-31
But you can let some stars go without cutting payroll. Payroll correlates with fan interest, because it is taken as a signal of team quality. But, I haven't seen any evidence that fans really care who makes up that payroll.
From what I can tell most payroll cuts end up costing the team money.
Whoever is that guy that you bring in when it's 3-3 in the eighth is the guy that can make a difference and that's not the closer these days.
Not if they took the money they would have spent on Kimbrel, and use it to buy other players. There is no evidence fans care about "home grown stars".
The Seattle Mariners lost three of the most elite home grown talents you'll ever see in 1998-2000 (R Johnson, Griffey and ARod). That didn't stop attendance from going nuts when they actually fielded a consistent winner.
@14 There's still a ways to go before I'm really sold on a competitive 2016+ Atlanta Braves.
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