Chicago Cubs are the undisputed winners in the Craig Kimbrel trade

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

At the July trade deadline, one of the biggest moves was when the White Sox acquired likely Hall of Fame-bound closer Craig Kimbrel, from the crosstown rival Chicago Cubs. With the deal, the White Sox had formed what looked like the scariest bullpen in baseball gearing up for an October run. Now, here we are only three months later, and the White Sox are looking to move on from Kimbrel after getting bounced in the ALDS.

Early on Tuesday morning, after the White Sox got eliminated by the Houston Astros, Bob Nightengale reported the team will be looking to move on from Kimbrel this upcoming offseason. This is huge coming from the White Sox part considering that they gave up two young players in Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer for only three months of Kimbrel.

When Kimbrel went over to the South Side of Chicago, he struggled. The Sox traded for Kimbrel expecting him to be the setup man for All-Star closer Liam Hendriks, and Kimbrel never seemed comfortable in that eighth inning role. In 23 innings with the White Sox, Kimbrel had 5.09 ERA with a 1.217 WHIP compared to his 0.49 ERA and 0.709 WHIP with the Cubs prior to the trade.

What felt like the breaking point for Kimbrel and the Sox was when he came into the seventh inning of Game 2 against the Astros in a one-run game. With non-inherited runners on base, Kimbrel gave up a double to Carlos Correa scoring two and then a two-run homer to Kyle Tucker, all but putting the game out of reach. If this is in fact the end of the Kimbrel era with the White Sox, it will be mostly filled with bad memories.

Chicago Cubs fans should be excited about the return in the Craig Kimbrel deal

The first guy the Cubs got in return for Kimbrel is reliever Codi Heuer. In 25 games with David Ross’ club, Heuer had a 3.14 ERA and was one of the team’s higher leverage relievers toward the end of the season. Heuer is most definitely part of the team’s 2022 plans and should be used commonly in the seventh or eighth inning going forward.

The biggest piece coming back from the White Sox was former top prospect, Nick Madrigal. Madrigal tore his hamstring early in the season with the White Sox – sidelining him for the rest of the year. Before the injury he was having a fairly solid season, slashing 305/.349/.425.

Madrigal is a pure contact guy who will hit for a high average and should be the leadoff hitter for many years to come. He is also known for his two-strike approach, which has earned him the nickname, “Nicky Two Strikes”. The only problems with Madrigal is that he will not hit the ball out of the park and he definitely needs to improve on defense.

The pieces of Heuer and Madrigal are definitely part of the Cubs’ long-term future as they look to help anchor the bullpen and the lineup. The White Sox should feel just a little bit salty that they gave up two younger players for half a season of a horribly ineffective Kimbrel.

Next. Will Anthony Rizzo have to settle for a two-year deal?. dark

In the end, there is really no debate no matter how you want to put it. The ‘set-up man’ of Craig Kimbrel should live in infamy of White Sox fans heads for a decent amount of time. It feels good to get a much needed win in a cross-town trade after, well you know, the Jose Quintana deal…