MLB rumors: Cubs never gave Braves a chance to trade for Craig Kimbrel

There was no talks of Craig Kimbrel involved in the trade with Joc Pederson between the Cubs and Braves on Thursday.

Of all the current Cubs on the trading block for the upcoming July 30 deadline, All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel has arguably the most value not just on the team, but throughout major league baseball.

In 33 appearances this season, the right-hander owns a 0.57 ERA, 0.663 WHIP, and 15.3 K/9 rate while converting 20 of 22 save opportunities. He’s been among the most un-hittable pitchers holding opposing batters to a .104 batting average.

The price for Kimbrel will be high, but it’s a fee most contending teams, or ball clubs looking to make a serious push for the postseason, are willing pay. Among the clubs looking to get add reinforcements and get back in the playoff hunt is the Braves.

Atlanta struck a deal with the Cubs on Thursday to acquire outfielder Joc Pederson in exchange for their No.12 prospect Bryce Ball. There were no mentions of Kimbrel, who was previously believed as potentially returning to Atlanta.

For as much as people online will joke about Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY, it makes perfect sense why the Braves would not make a serious push for Kimbrel given his price tag.

Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel would have been too costly for Braves

Kimbrel, 33, will earn $16 million this season and has a $16 million and $1 buyout option for 2022. The Braves would either have to pay a significant portion of Kimbrel’s current salary, or offer higher ranked prospects in their system if the Cubs were willing to send cash to pay off a good portion of that salary figure.

It’s almost as if Atlanta is in between a rock and a hard place in terms of which direction they should head for the remainder of the season. The Braves are four games out of first place, and 7.5 games out of Wild Card spot.

Even though they lost their best player, Ronald Acuña Jr, to a season ending ACL tear, there is still reason to believe they could make a push for the division with the right additions. The risk the Braves front office is willing to take to make this happen is the big question.

The Pederson move was a safe bet, and Atlanta didn’t lose a Top-10 prospect. The only price Atlanta will have to pay is the remaining $2 million of Pederson’s 2021 salary, along with a $2.5 million buyout or $10 million mutual option for next season.