Chicago White Sox: What’s on their 2022 post-lockout to-do list

Aug 12, 2021; Dyersville, Iowa, USA; Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson (7) reacts after hitting a two-run home run in the ninth inning to defeat the New York Yankees at Field of Dreams. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 12, 2021; Dyersville, Iowa, USA; Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson (7) reacts after hitting a two-run home run in the ninth inning to defeat the New York Yankees at Field of Dreams. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /
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(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /

The Chicago White Sox should trade Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel is undoubtedly one of the greatest closers in the history of Major League Baseball. The active leader in saves is now 33 years of age and is currently slated to play in his first full season as a member of the Chicago White Sox. That concept seems to be in jeopardy already, though, as Bob Nightengale reported that the club could look to trade him this winter after picking up their $16 million club option on him.

The White Sox acquired Kimbrel in a huge crosstown trade with the Cubs at the 2021 trade deadline. Nick Madrigal was the centerpiece going from AL to NL and could end up proving to be a steal by the Cubbies.

Upon his arrival on the south side of Chicago, Kimbrel served in a setup role to incumbent closer Liam Hendriks. Kimbrel did not fare very well and appears to be a pitcher who simply cannot function in a role besides closer. While that may sound ridiculous, closing games requires a certain mindset and playing style that is different than any other role on a pitching staff. Knowing you will be in to shut the door in the ninth inning provides a closing pitcher with a set routine that serving as a setup man does not.

Before Craig Kimbrel was traded to the White Sox, he was absolutely dominant in a Cubs uniform. In 36.2 innings as a Cub, Kimbrel gave up just two earned runs while sporting an ungodly 15.7 strikeouts per-nine innings rate. This turnaround season came on the heels of two subpar years in a row with the Cubs that saw Kimbrel put up a 6.53 and 5.28 ERA in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Kimbrel is a surefire future Hall of Famer thanks in part to his career 2.18 ERA and the fact that he has almost 400 saves since he debuted in 2010 as a 22-year-old. Kimbrel has also finished in the Top 10 in Cy Young voting a total of five times, a number that is simply unheard of from a relief pitcher. The former Rookie of the Year and eight-time All Star will most likely be traded this offseason by the White Sox as they look to plugin someone who can function as a setup pitcher for them. They may have already signed the top option for the role in 2022 in Kendall Graveman, a move that may signify the end of Craig Kimbrel’s White Sox career.

Next. Tim Anderson's offseason offer from the Chicago Bulls. dark

Owed $16 million in 2022, Kimbrel’s contract will surely come off the books for the Sox, maybe even before the season starts. His first-half success in 2021 should warrant a hefty return and the South Siders should be able to use that $16 million to help make the previously mentioned signings.