The Red Sox are good, the Cubs are not, and Craig Kimbrel knows what it takes to pitch in Boston. A return to Fenway Park seems like a good enough idea as the trade deadline nears, right?
The Cubs on Tuesday lost their 11th straight game, getting blown out by the Philadelphia Phillies at home. After looking like they were going to contend in the National League Central, the fourth-place North Siders are sinking fast, falling nine games out of first place.
Chicago is already in the midst of a mini-rebuild and probably should be poised to sell at the July 30 deadline. And for all of the Cubs’ obvious problems, the performance of Kimbrel is not one of those. The 33-year-old looks like his old dominant self, allowing just 10 hits in 30 2/3 innings this season, striking out 53 of the 113 batters he’s faced. He has a conditional option for the 2022 season that could be worth up to $16 million.
Regardless of finances, if Kimbrel is made available, he could be the best player to move before the deadline.
And while the Red Sox bullpen has been very good, the World Series hopefuls could certainly boost the back end by reacquiring the flame-thrower, who pitched three All-Star seasons with Boston. However, ESPN’s Buster Olney on Tuesday threw some water on that idea after running it by some executives.
If president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer and the Cubs go into full sell mode at the deadline, they certainly have some big-time trade chips. Kris Bryant, who looked like an MVP candidate earlier in the year, could be the best player available as he gets set to enter free agency this winter. First baseman Anthony Rizzo also will be a free agent along with shortstop Javy Baez.
It sure seems unlikely Chicago would move all three (or four, counting Kimbrel), but the Cubs sure are a team to watch with the deadline a little more than three weeks away.