The Cubs could also pivot to another AL contender in sore need of arms
The Minnesota Twins are coming off back-to-back AL Central championship seasons, but haven’t yet found any success in the postseason. As things stand now, their current closer would be Taylor Rogers who is coming off a season in which he had an ERA over 4.00.
They’re also losing Trevor May and Sergio Romo, both of whom were key pieces of their bullpen in 2020. The Twins are still in position to contend in the AL this year but they need bullpen help in the worst way possible and Kimbrel is the perfect option to close for them. The issue here is of course, money. The Twins would most likely want to re-sign Nelson Cruz and they may want to save money for their rotation as well, but should consider making Kimbrel their big offseason splash.
A return here unfortunately wouldn’t net the Cubs any of Minnesota’s stacked top 10 prospects, but there is a possibility they could net a few lower tier prospects in the organizational top 30. One intriguing option for Chicago is outfielder Brent Rooker.
A former Southeastern Conference Player of the Year winner at Mississippi State, Rooker is renowned for his power, which MLB Pipeline grades at 60. The righty has lots of potential as a prototypical high OBP and high SLG guy, but has a few red flags. First he’s 26, so there’s not too much more seasoning that can be done before he’s in the majors. Next, he’s not a great defender by any stretch and lastly, he has a nasty strikeout rate, whiffing in 34.7 percent of his plate appearances in 2019. Still, the offensive potential alone is enough to make him apart of a trade for Kimbrel. Especially if Minnesota sends another prospect as well.
The other prospect that could intrigue the Cubs is Chris Vallimont. Vallimont has a good fastball that grades at a 60, as well as a 55 grade slider and a curveball and changeup that are each graded at 50. His fastball sits at 92-96 MPH and his slider gets consistent swings and misses.
The problem with Vallimont is that he lacks a good amount of control. Still, this duo makes a lot of sense as the Cubs would be giving up Kimbrel and getting two high-risk, high-reward prospects.