The Chicago White Sox had appeared to have added that missing piece in Craig Kimbrel. Easily the top reliever available on the trade market, Kimbrel was placed into the eighth inning, theoretically giving the White Sox the perfect bullpen buzzsaw to dominate in the playoffs. Instead, Kimbrel was unable to replicate his excellent showing with the Cubs, struggling to find his footing as a setup man.
Now, the White Sox are set to take another risk. They are reportedly picking up his $16 million option for 2022 in the hope that he can be traded during the offseason.
Chicago White Sox taking gamble on Craig Kimbrel’s market
Kimbrel’s market is essentially going to depend on how other teams view his last few seasons. He had dominated with the Cubs before being traded, posting a 0.49 ERA and a 0.709 WHiP over his 36.2 innings, striking out 64 batters with 13 walks while notching 23 saves. Kimbrel once again appeared to be that dominant closer he had been in the past.
But that would ignore everything surrounding that impressive run. Kimbrel posted a miserable 6.00 ERA and a 1.528 WHiP over his 36 innings. While he struck out 58 batters, he also issued 24 walks and 11 homers. However, one could argue that those struggles were due to his signing late in 2019 and the pandemic season of 2020.
Kimbrel’s performance with the White Sox also could have a caveat. His 5.09 ERA was not great, but he did post a respectable enough 1.217 WHiP during the regular season. However, he was battered during the playoffs, allowing three runs, two earned, on three hits and a homer over his two innings, failing to strike out a single batter. Yet, he had not pitched in a setup role since 2010 and was clearly uncomfortable.
One has to wonder what type of a return the White Sox are going to be looking for. Maybe they will be looking to add a young, close to major league ready middle infielder. Considering plenty of teams are going to be looking for a closer, the White Sox might be able to get the type of return they are hoping for.
The Chicago White Sox are gambling that teams will have interest in Craig Kimbrel this offseason. They plan on picking up his option to trade him.