Craig Kimbrel trade gives White Sox arguably best bullpen in baseball
The Chicago White Sox already have one of the best closers in baseball in right-hander Liam Hendriks, but that did not stop them from making a massive bullpen splash at Friday’s trade deadline.
The White Sox have acquired Craig Kimbrel in a deal with the Chicago Cubs, according to multiple reports. The Cubs will get second baseman Nick Madrigal and pitcher Codi Heuer in the trade.
Kimbrel, 33, has been one of the best relievers in baseball for the last decade. He is having one of his best seasons ever this year. The right-hander had a 0.49 ERA in 39 appearances with the White Sox. He has 64 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings.
Kimbrel will now join Liam Hendriks to give the White Sox easily the best closer-setup combination in baseball. Hendriks has a 2.58 ERA with 71 strikeouts and 25 saves in 45 appearances. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic says both Kimbrel and Hendriks will be used in save situations.
White Sox plan to give both Kimbrel and Hendriks save opportunities. With short season last year, they believe this move will help them protect both their starters and relievers. Also have option to retain Kimbrel next season for $16M.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2021
In addition to Kimbrel, the White Sox also acquired right-hander Ryan Tepera in a separate deal with their cross-town rivals on Thursday. Tepera has a 2.91 ERA in 43 appearances this year.
The White Sox are 60-43 and have an 8-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central. They clearly feel they have a real chance to win the World Series, and adding bullpen arms at the trade deadline is one of the best ways to bolster a playoff contender. They’re easily one of the big winners of the trade deadline.