Cole Kimball was claimed off waivers today by the Blue Jays. The Nats needed space on the 40-man to prepare for the Rule V draft and Kimball wouldn't pitch until half-way through the season so he (along with the unwanted Corey Brown) were the most sensible men to try to get back to the minors. Unfortuantely for the Nats Kimball was good enough, and his contract situation so favorable, that the Blue Jays were willing to sit him on their 40-man while he recovers.
Is it a loss? Yes, but not a big one. After spending 2009 adjusting to being a reliever, Kimball had been very successful in that role posting ERAs under 2.50 at every stop, including the majors. He's big with the K, doesn't miss in a way that's easy to hit, and doesn't give up the long ball. That sounds great but he also walks too many guys (7.1 BB/9 in the majors, over 5 in AA and AAA stints the last two years) right now to be the type of crunch-time reliever you rely on every day. With Clippard and Storen in line right now, at best he's a 7th inning man next year and 8th inning guy if/when Clippard leaves. Could he develop like Hanrahan did? Sure, but you can say that about a lot of minor league relievers with live arms. Kimball's a guy you can have pitch an inning and feel pretty confident the game isn't going to get away from you, and he's a guy that can come in when you NEED a K but can afford a walk. Valuable but if your organization is any good, replaceable.
This is also one of the downsides of signing all those high draft picks. The Nats have three guys on your 40-man who didn't play last year in the majors and could likely not play most of this year, Bryce, Purke and Rendon. Of course if losing a bullpen arm is part of the cost of signing guys like this, you sign guys like this every time.