The Chicago Cubs won a World Series just five years ago, in what looked like the start of a dynasty. Fast forward to the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline, and they’re blowing it up. They’ve already traded a franchise cornerstone Anthony Rizzo to the New York Yankees, and now closer Craig Kimbrel is heading across town to the Chicago White Sox.
After very disappointing seasons for the Cubs in 2019-20, Kimbrel found the stuff that made him one of baseball’s best closers from 2011-18. He has a 0.49 ERA this year, with 64 strikeouts in 36.2 innings.
On the year, he has 23 saves for the struggling Cubs, and made his first All-Star Game since 2018. Now, he heads over to a division race in the AL Central.
At 60-43, the White Sox are eight games up in the division, and have the fourth-best record in the American League. Michael Cerami was first to report the deal, which has been confirmed by numerous others.
SOURCE: I'm hearing Craig Kimbrel has been traded to the Chicago White Sox.
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) July 30, 2021
Kimbrel joins what it a bullpen full of absolute fireballers. Bullpens have become super essential in the postseason, and the White Sox have one that may be able to dominate a series in the fall.
The White Sox adding Kimbrel is nuts. They now have two of the five relievers with strikeout rates above 40%, and with Ryan Tepera also in the mix, they have five of the 53 relievers with strikeout rates above 30%, min 20 IP.
— Devan Fink (@DevanFink) July 30, 2021
The Chicago Cubs didn’t send Craig Kimbrel to their crosstown rival for nothing, though. Promising 24-year old second-baseman Nick Madrigal, and 25-year old reliever Codi Heuer are heading up to Wrigley in return.
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
This has to be a bittersweet few days for the Chicago Cubs, who may also deal Kris Bryant and Javier Baez before the 4 p.m. ET deadline today. At 50-54 and 11.5 games back in the NL Central, their playoff hopes were pretty well over this season. This week’s moves may help fasttrack a quick rebuild.