Chicago Cubs absolutely cannot trade Craig Kimbrel to the Phillies

(Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images) /

We’re only nine days away from the trade deadline and the Chicago Cubs are firmly in the driver’s seat of the seller’s market. The team has two of the best pieces on the market in Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel and they need to secure some solid returns for both if they want to get back to contention in 2022 or 2023.

In the case of Kimbrel, his value is so sky-high that the team would be better off listening to prospect-rich teams like Toronto instead of one like the Philadelphia Phillies.

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I mention the Phillies specifically because they’ve been connected to Kimbrel due to their serious bullpen needs. It seems like a good match from Philadelphia’s end, but on the Cubs’ side, there are some drawbacks. Before the 2021 season began, the Phillies’ farm system ranked 27th overall per Baseball America and The Athletic, with only two top 100 prospects in Mick Abel (99) and Spencer Howard who has since joined their big league team.

Chicago Cubs need more in a Craig Kimbrel trade than what Phillies can offer

It certainly doesn’t help that Phillies GM Dave Dombrowski has stated he’s unwilling to trade Abel or their recent first-round pick Andrew Painter. This could mean one of two two things.

For one, it could signal that the Cubs would be receiving one of Howard or Alec Bohm in a deal. Both have struggled in the majors this year which means the Cubs would have to be convinced they could develop them and the Phillies would have to actually be willing to move them.

Maybe if the Cubs are interested enough in either Bohm or Howard, it’s worth a shot, but aside from them, Philly has nothing that would blow Jed Hoyer away. Their only other option is to offer any of the remaining prospects beyond Abel and Painter which doesn’t sound all that tantalizing.

Moreover, why jump at any of these Phillies offers when so many other contenders, including the A’s, Astros and Blue Jays exist and can likely offer something better given their respective prospect depth?

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The Phillies don’t exactly have a terrible deal for Kimbrel, but they lack the same value the Cubs can get from other contenders. I don’t see the best package for the righty coming from Philadelphia especially with the potential bidding war ahead for Kimbrel’s services paired with Dombrowski’s recent comments.