5 Chicago Cubs whose trade value is skyrocketing: 1 – Craig Kimbrel
Remember in June 2019 when the Cubs had absolutely zero bullpen and had blown more save opportunities than what felt like literally anyone ever? Sitting there watching the Cubs and the notification flashed across your smartphone or tablet:
“The Chicago Cubs reportedly agree to a deal with free agent Craig Kimbrel”
I jumped out of my chair and thanked the Baseball Gods.
And then… he posted a 6.53 ERA, followed by a 5.28 in 2020. What happened?
Fortunately for us, what happened doesn’t matter now, because Kimbrel is as absolutely electric as they come this year. Whatever happened, he figured it out in a major way. Just look at this man’s career numbers. The only two bad seasons he had were 2019 and 2020. This year, to go along with Maples, Chafin and Wieck, is his best ever. A 0.52 ERA (two earned runs) in 34 2/3 innings with a 15.6 K/9. Unreal numbers and 22 saves on top of it. He has not allowed an earned run since May 15, over two months ago.
So what do you do? Given then fact the Kimbrel boasts 370 saves – the most among active relievers – and is still only 33, I am perfectly OK with not letting the man go. Ever. A career 2.07 ERA will do that to people. Kimbrel is destined to be among the greats of all-time closers. However, for Kimbrel, he does have a club option for 2022, making him all the more valuable in a trade in the coming week and a half before the deadline.
I can cook up scenarios in my head for Hoyer all day long. Combinations of Kimbrel and Wieck. Kimbrel and Chafin. Kimbrel and Maples. Want to get crazy? What would a return look like for Bryant and Kimbrel? The prospect return alone would catapult our farm system into the top 5.
Whatever happens regarding our core or our young contract friendly arms, I just hope Jed doesn’t sell them all. Or, sell them off for nothing at that. The Cubs have a truly unique opportunity to become dominant in the standings again very soon if they execute this trade deadline properly.