As the trade deadline looms, It’s time to start seriously considering who can be moved, to what team and for what cost. As the jury is still out on Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo, unfortunately the same cannot be said for Chicago Cubs All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel.
Enter the tight race of the AL East. At the time of writing, Boston sits just a half-game up on Tampa and six up on Toronto. The Blue Jays also currently sit only 2 1/2 back in the AL wild card race, which could prompt them to become buyers at the trade deadline to help make up some of that ground.
With closer Kirby Yates out for the year and a current team ERA of 3.96, the Blue Jays would be smart to button up the back end of their bullpen to help successfully close out games. Though step-in closer Jordan Romano has been solid in his roll, posting a 1.94 ERA with seven saves on the season, there is never anything wrong with adding a potential Hall of Famer who is having a career year in Craig Kimbrel.
Kimbrel’s numbers are the stuff of legend this season. The former Rookie of the Year and eight-time All-Star is currently sitting at a 0.53 ERA and 1.09 FIP with 21 saves on the year in 33 2/3 innings pitched. For perspective, in Kimbrel’s Rookie of the Year campaign that really put him on the map, he posted a 2.10 ERA with 46 saves in 77 innings of work. Needless to say, after a whole first half of baseball in 2021, he is currently having the best year of his career.
Furthering Kimbrel’s value is the fact that he is not just a rental this season due to a club option on his contract for 2022. Given the way he has pitched, a team would be absurd not to pick it up due to his success this season.