Kimbrel didn’t come at a low price.
The White Sox surrendered some serious talent to bring in the All-Star.
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
For that reason, the White Sox are going to need to make the most out of Kimbrel’s time with the team.
He will likely be around through the 2022 season.
Let’s take a look at what the righty is going to bring to the table.
Looking At Kimbrel’s 2021 Season So Far
Friday’s trade marks the end of Kimbrel’s three-year tenure with the Chicago Cubs.
During his first two seasons with the Cubs, Kimbrel looked like a shell of his best self.
He posted a 6.53 ERA, 8.00 FIP and 1.60 WHIP across 23 outings in 2019.
Then, in 2020, he got shelled to the tune of a 5.28 ERA, 3.97 FIP and 1.44 WHIP over 18 outings.
Kimbrel looked like he had nothing left in the tank, and very few people could have seen his 2021 campaign coming.
Over 39 appearances this season, Kimbrel has pitched to an absurd 0.49 ERA, 1.08 FIP and 0.71 WHIP.
He has struck out 64 batters in 36.2 innings, and he hasn’t allowed a run since May 15.
That’s 21 straight innings without an earned run.
Opponents do well just to reach base against the 33-year-old, let alone score on him.
The eight-time All-Star is showing no signs of slowing down this year.
Looking At Kimbrel’s Fit With The White Sox
The White Sox were one bullpen piece away from being in fantastic shape, and they got their guy.
Chicago now has two elite closers—Liam Hendriks being the other—and both players figure to split time finishing games.
White Sox plan to give both Kimbrel and Hendriks save opportunities. With short season last year, they believe this move will help them protect both their starters and relievers. Also have option to retain Kimbrel next season for $16M.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2021
Hendriks has a 2.58 ERA, 2.71 FIP and 0.73 WHIP on the year.
Between the two, the White Sox are going to have an unstoppable late-innings combo.
Liam Hendriks has the second-most saves in the league. Craig Kimbrel has the lowest ERA amongst relief pitchers.
— MLB (@MLB) July 30, 2021
Those are all quality options, and with the White Sox also boasting an elite rotation, it’s going to be a nightmare for opposing teams to deal with this pitching staff.
Looking At Kimbrel’s Postseason Success
Kimbrel has been around the block, and he knows what it’s like to play in the postseason.
He even won a World Series with the Boston Red Sox back in 2018.
For his playoff career, Kimbrel has a 3.68 ERA in 20 outings.
That’s a solid mark, and more importantly, it shows that the moment doesn’t get too big for him when the lights are the brightest.
The White Sox, who are 60-43 and have an eight-game lead in the American League Central, are almost certainly going to get to see Kimbrel on the mound in the playoffs.
All signs point to the veteran being ready for that moment when the time comes.
The White Sox gave their fans a taste of the postseason in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, but the run came to an end quickly.
It has been 13 long years since the team last advanced to the ALDS.
With the way things are looking, Chicago is well on its way there in 2021.