There was never any doubt the Chicago Cubs would trade Craig Kimbrel ahead of the trade deadline. But I don’t know if any of us saw the Cubs hooking up with the crosstown rival White Sox on a deal.
First, we have to give props to Michael Cerami over at Bleacher Nation for being the first to report the trade. It’s not everyday a blogger breaks news of this caliber, let alone on the day of the MLB trade deadline, when all the national writers are glued to their phones and focused solely on transactions. It’s awesome.
Back to the trade itself.
The Cubs are reportedly getting infielder Nick Madrigal and right-handed pitching prospect Cody Heuer back in the deal, which gives the White Sox, hands-down, the best bullpen in baseball. Madrigal will miss the rest of 2021 after undergoing season-ending surgery for a torn hamstring – but is widely regarded as one of the most promising young talents in the game.
Heading into 2021 (keep in mind prospect rankings are all over the place without a Minor League season being played last year), Madrigal was ranked as the #40 prospect in baseball by both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America.
Prior to his injury, Madrigal was enjoying a strong age-24 season, batting .305/.349/.425 for the Sox. He and Nico Hoerner will likely form the double play combo for the Cubs for years to come – and immediately cast doubt on the future of Javier Baez’s role with the team (at least in my mind).
Heuer made his big league debut last season and dominated for Chicago, working to a 1.52 ERA in 21 appearances during the pandemic-shortened campaign. The right-hander carries an earned run average north of 5.00 this year – but his FIP is much more palatable at 3.67.
We’ll get into this much, much more in coming hours and days. But for now, another big piece is on the move – with less than two hours left until the deadline.