The Chicago White Sox picked up Craig Kimbrel’s team option for 2022. That should be no surprise given the fact that they gave up Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer just to acquire him from the Chicago Cubs. He wasn’t great in a setup role ahead of Liam Henderiks on the south side so now they might trade him away.
They should explore keeping him and using him the right way. Having two elite closers is not a bad thing as one of them should always be available. However, if there is a team out there willing to give up some nice assets for him, the White Sox should consider it.
Apparently, according to Jon Heyman, the closer is the main priority for the Philadelphia Phillies going into 2022. He listed Craig Kimbrel as one of the people on their wish list along with Josh Hader and Kenley Jansen.
Heyman also notes that getting Hader and Jansen would be hard to get for different reasons, making Kimbrel the easiest option for them. The White Sox may be willing to send him off to Philly if the price is right.
The Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies make great trade partners.
Of course, there is the Dave Dombrowski tie as well. Dombrowski is now with the Phillies after his time with the Boston Red Sox. In his time with Boston, he made a trade for Craig Kimbrel as well so this would be his second time making that exact transaction.
This is all just hot stove talk right now but the match does make a lot of sense. The Phillies came up short of the postseason in 2021, despite an MVP-winning performance from Bryce Harper. They are in serious danger of wasting the prime years of his career (and hefty contract) so they are going to be urgent. Adding a closer like Kimbrel, if he plays like the Kimbrel we know, can be a big help.
For whatever reason, it didn’t work for Craig on the south side. He started off the 2021 season with the Chicago Cubs and was the best relief pitcher in baseball. He was not able to repeat that performance on a steady basis with the White Sox.
This is something that Philly (or whoever may acquire Kimbrel) can learn from. The man is a closer through and through. He needs to be put in a position to succeed and that is high leverage ninth innings. Either way, it would be nice to see the White Sox turn this into something positive.