QUESTION: Is free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel (above) a possibility if he's only looking in the 2-3 year range? Or did the Holland deal from last year make the Cards wary about doing anything like that?
GOOLD: The Cardinals have long been closer-prices adverse. Before Holland, the most money the Cardinals had invested in a closer was Jason Isringhausen earlier this century. They just didn't want to pay for past saves or name recognition when they felt they had a history of creating closers: Salas, Motte, Mujica, Franklin -- some of whom were All-Stars in the role, you'll recall. The Cardinals parted from that to get Holland -- and then were promptly reminded why they tried to avoid that approach.
So now they're back into their comfort zone, and that's a place that Craig Kimbrel hasn't slipped. Early on in the process, I heard from a source that a two-year deal with Kimbrel held some appeal with the Cardinals. I have not heard that same thing recently, and yet the closer is still out there, as a free agent, because who isn't?
Follow-up: Do you think that the Holland experience in 2018 will have any impact on the Cardinals' willingness to secure late-developing deals?
GOOLD: No. They still have Lohse and Norris on the ledger, if they count as late deals. So they've had some success. The Holland Experience does seem to have left the Cardinals less enamored with a brand-name closer, though. That is obvious.