It was a very exciting day when the Chicago White Sox acquired Craig Kimbrel from the Chicago Cubs. It was tough to see them give up Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer but they were getting one of the five best relievers in the history of the sport during one of his best years. Unfortunately, things aren’t working out as planned.
The White Sox had Liam Hendriks in the mix when they traded for Kimbrel. As of right now, it is hard to call Hendriks anything other than the best closer in the league. If he’s not, he is in the top three. That forced the White Sox to make some decisions with Kimbrel’s usage.
Kimbrel was mostly used as a setup man in a White Sox uniform. It didn’t work well. He was bad in the 8th inning after dominating all year long with the Cubs in the 9th inning. Michael Kopech and his dominant self is also there so the bullpen looked amazing on paper. The idea of Kopech, Kimbrel, and Hendriks closing out games just didn’t work out as planned.
The White Sox were eliminated by the Houston Astros in four games so the speculation about next year is coming soon. Bob Nightengale reported on Twitter this morning that the White Sox are going to pick up Kimbrel’s team option and then trade him during the offseason.
The Craig Kimbrel trade did not work out very well for the Chicago White Sox.
The Cubs won this trade. The White Sox would have won it if Kimbrel was even a little better and they made a deeper run but that hasn’t happened. Madrigal and Heuer are great players that will be good on the north side for a long time.
Going forward, the White Sox needs to find good trade partners across baseball for Kimbrel. Whoever offers up the best package is the team that will get Kimbrel. With another team as a closer, he should be great. He just isn’t capable of being a Major League setup man.
The White Sox certainly won’t make him the closer because they have Hendriks. They pay that guy a lot of money and he was great in 2021. They do, however, need to replace Kimbrel in the bullpen and find themselves a good setup man. Michael Kopech and Garrett Crochet may be turned into starters soon so the bullpen as a whole needs some work.
White Sox fans don’t need to hate Kimbrel. He was put in a bad position by the White Sox and it showed. When he pitches in the 9th inning, he is as good as any pitcher on the planet. We can only hope that the White Sox get a decent return back for him this winter.