1. Cubs trade rumors: Craig Kimbrel could be the best prize on the trade market
Rather than their position players and All-Stars of the past, Cubs reliever Craig Kimbrel has quickly become the team’s biggest asset at the trade deadline.
The first reason is backed up by the numbers. After a pair of disappointing seasons, Kimbrel has reminded everyone why he is considered one of the greatest relievers in major-league history. The right-hander has allowed just two earned runs in 31.2 innings this season (0.57 ERA), along with a 0.663 WHIP and 15.3 K/9 rate in 33 appearances. He’s also converted 20 of 22 save opportunities.
Kimbrel, 33, will make $16 million this season, and he still has a $16 million team option and $1 million buyout for 2022. Rather than just having him for half a season, contending teams can keep Kimbrel for another year should they choose to do so. A lower-budget team like the A’s may also decide to exercise his buyout option if they don’t want to pay that much next season as well.
This will no doubt increase his value and will put Kimbrel atop the list as the most sought-after pieces not just on the Cubs, but perhaps the entire league at the trade deadline.
As previously mentioned, there’s never a shortage of contending teams looking to add bullpen help at the end of July. When it’s a lockdown reliever like Kimbrel, the phones will be off the hook, which should give the Cubs plenty of favorable offers to choose from.