Two baseball teams looking to win their divisions with a strong second half have signed two pitchers who have helped their teams win the last two World Series.
The Atlanta Braves, who went into the weekend two games behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East, signed ace starer Dallas Keuchel to a one-year, $13 million deal.
The Chicago Cubs, who went into the weekend tied for first place with the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central, signed top-notch closer Craig Kimbrel to a 3-year, $43 million deal.
Chicago’s odds to win the World Series are 10-1. They were 14-1 before they signed Kimbrel. Atlanta’s odds to win the World Series are 18-1. They were 20-1 before they signed Keuchel.
Kimbrel was the closer for the Boston Red Sox in 2018 and went 5-1 with a 2.74 ERA and recorded 42 saves, the third most in the league. He was a key cog on the Red Sox pitching staff and helped them to a World Series title.
The Cubs made a similar move in 2016 when they traded for closer Aroldis Chapman and it helped them win a World Series. They are hoping to get the same kind of magic in the signing of Kimbrel.
Kuechel, who will being pitching for the Braves AAA affiliate in Gwinnett this weekend, was 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA with the Houston Astros in 2018. The season before he was 14-5 with a 2.90 ERA as Houston won the 2017 World Series.
The 31-year-old ace pitcher joins a Braves staff where the average age of the five starters is less than 25. He should provide a much needed boost and the right amount of experience.