The Chicago White Sox were a really good baseball team in 2021. They were the runaway favorites in the AL Central and ended up winning the division winner with ease. They were also serious buyers at the trade deadline.
One of the good additions that they made was Craig Kimbrel. They acquired him from the Chicago Cubs in a huge deal that gave away Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer. At the time of the trade, Kimbrel was the top closer in the game up to that point.
Of course, the White Sox had Liam Hendriks as their closer as well so it was a question as to how they were going to be used. Manager Tony La Russa ended up keeping Hendriks as the closer with Kimbrel as the setup man.
That did not work out well for the White Sox. Kimbrel was not very good in this role as the setup man as he had been a closer for pretty much his entire career. He might go to the Hall of Fame because of his days as a closer but it just didn't work out well in Chicago with this new role.
The Chicago White Sox and Craig Kimbrel struggled together in 2021.
The White Sox let Kimbrel go the following off-season. He ended up with the Los Angeles Dodgers as the Sox sent him away in a trade. He pitched okay in Los Angeles and now he is with the Philadelphia Phillies.
With a team like that, he has actually been pretty good as well. In fact, he pitched in their playoff game on Thursday night. The funny thing is that he was used as a setup man and did his job just fine. It's almost like that organization gives him the tools needed to succeed.
He pitched 1.0 innings where he did walk a batter but he also struck out one and didn't allow a run. That gave his team a chance to hold onto their lead which they did.
The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves (another former team of Kimbrel) in the series and are headed to the National League Championship Series where they will face the Arizona Diamondbacks. It should be a delightful series.
Kimbrel wasn't good with the White Sox as they seem to make everybody look bad. He had to be so happy to get out and go to better teams. Again, he is a good enough pitcher to go in any inning as he is showing with Philly. The White Sox just couldn't do anything to help him. We'll see how he does in this upcoming NLCS.