Both teams were winners in the Craig Kimbrel trade — here’s why
The Cubs traded Craig Kimbrel to the crosstown rival Chicago White Sox in return for Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.
The White Sox paid a massive price for Craig Kimbrel: second baseman Nick Madrigal and reliever Codi Heuer, sources tell ESPN.
When I said at the top of the show that Cubs had the chance to remake themselves for the next five years in the next two hours, this is what I meant.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 30, 2021
It’s a big pickup for both teams. After this Craig Kimbrel deal, the White Sox now have the best bullpen in the MLB and the Cubs have their second baseman of the future. It’s the second trade that the two teams have made this deadline with the Ryan Tepera being the other one. With all of the pieces in this trade, both teams have come out as winners in different ways, lets breakdown why.
Craig Kimbrel analysis: The Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox have been easily the best team in the American Central and one of the best teams in all of baseball. The only place that they had some struggles this season was in the bullpen (although their bullpen was still good) and now they have added both Ryan Tepera and Kimbrel.
Craig Kimbrel is one of the greatest closing pitchers of all time and this season he has bounced back in serious fashion after having a few down years. Kimbrel has pitched to an astounding 0.49 ERA this season with 23 saves and 64 strikeouts across 36.2 innings pitched. He has easily been one of if not the best closers in all of baseball this season and will add even more talent to the White Sox roster.
The two headed monster that will be the White Sox bullpen will be a sight to see, as Kimbrel’s new teammate and fellow All-Star Liam Hendriks will be sharing save opportunities. Hendriks has been incredible so far this season with a 2.58 ERA, 71 strike outs and 25 saves over 45.1 innings pitched. By adding Craig Kimbrel to the end of the bullpen the White Sox now have two of the best closers in the game that they can count on. This team is built for the playoffs.
The Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs fans have not had a great couple of days after seeing the core players of their 2016 title run all be traded in the span of two days. While this may not seem like a good thing, the Craig Kimbrel deal sends more prospects to the Cubs. The Cubbies are set for the future. The biggest pick up that they got was Nick Madrigal, as the second baseman was a top prospect in the White Sox pipeline. Madrigal was the starting second baseman for the White Sox this season until he tore his hamstring which required surgery. He is expected to make a full recovery and when he does he will be the Cubs starting second baseman of the future.
Madrigal in his short time in the majors has done nothing but hit the ball well. He has a career slash line of .317/.358/.406 for an OPS of .774. If Madrigal can find some power (which it seemed he had early on in 2021 with a .425 slugging percentage) then he will undoubtedly be a perennial All-Star. By putting him next to Cubs former number one prospect Nico Hoerner, the Cubs should have their middle infield set for the foreseeable future.
So in the end, while the White Sox have won this Craig Kimbrel trade in relationship to the 2021 season, and probably 2022 as well, the Cubs will reap the long-term benefits with the prospects that they picked up from their fire sale.