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The 2021 Chicago White Sox trade for Craig Kimbrel has become a wasted move with the team dealing him to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
So much for another round with Craig Kimbrel. The Chicago White Sox have traded the active saves leader (372) to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for outfielder A.J. Pollock. Acquired at last year’s trade deadline from the Chicago Cubs, the White Sox are cutting bait early on in this relationship.
Kimbrel is no stranger to getting traded. In fact, he was traded days before Opening Day 2015 from the Atlanta Braves to the San Diego Padres. That deal was a much different kind of trade. Kimbrel was still in his prime when he first left the Braves.
Now, with the White Sox saying goodbye to him, it looks more like a swap of unneeded parts between two teams hoping to meet in the World Series.
The White Sox gave up two young and talented players in exchange for some rough outings from Craig Kimbrel
One way to look at this trade: the White Sox picked up Pollock in return for two younger players. Pollock is coming off of a nice year, slashing .297/.355/.536 for the Dodgers in 422 plate appearances. However, the big problem with him throughout his career has been getting on the field. In the decade he has played, Pollock has only one season of reaching 500 plate appearances despite beginning most seasons as a starter—or at least the expected one for Opening Day.
In exchange for Kimbrel, the White Sox dealt Codi Heuer and Nick Madrigal. Heuer actually ended up pitching quite well out of the Cubs’ bullpen in his 28.2 innings of work. He was 3-3 with a 3.14 ERA. Compared to the results Kimbrel gave them at 2-2 with a 5.09 ERA in 23 innings, it looks like they would have been better off with the younger gun than the veteran.
Madrigal also looks like he could become something special. Although injured at the time of the trade and yet to play a single inning for the Cubs organization, Madrigal has hit above .300 in each of his four professional seasons. It’s a small sample but possibly a sign of positive times in his future.
When the White Sox acquired Kimbrel, it was meant to turn their bullpen into one of the best in baseball. Kimbrel was having a vintage season with the Cubs after some struggles in recent years. The success didn’t last when he changed Chicago teams. The White Sox will need to hope they have enough parts in their bullpen and also that Pollock can stay healthy and productive in their outfield mix.
As far as the original trade for Kimbrel goes, it looks like a wasted move that may only look worse as time goes on. Worst of all: it was a deal with the Cubs.