Dodgers could use some bullpen help, huh? Perhaps they should call the Chicago White Sox, a team that’s been borderline screaming about dangling Craig Kimbrel since the moment they acquired him last summer.
Maybe they should call the Cubs and see if they can have Nick Madrigal back? Too soon?
LA’s shaky bridge to Kenley Jansen is poised to get even shakier this offseason, following the likely departure of Joe Kelly and Corey Knebel’s new deal in Philly — count Knebel among those thankful to Andrew Friedman for letting them rebuild their value in Hollywood.
Of course, that shaky bridge will likely have to stretch across the country, considering Jansen is also departing to play his home games in … well … does anybody want to overpay a closer these days?
The Dodgers seem poised to let Blake Treinen slide into the back end of the bullpen and fill Treinen’s resulting gap with … any takers? Tommy Kahnle?
But what if, instead, LA just paid the price for once of 2021’s best closers who didn’t look quite the same once he was relegated to setup man duty for Liam Hendriks? With one year of expensive control remaining, Kimbrel could be the apple of the Dodgers’ eye, especially since they have some unused budgetary wiggle room.
What would a Dodgers-White Sox Craig Kimbrel trade look like?
If I’m the Dodgers, and I’m specifically in need of a closer so as not to mess with Treinen’s success, I’m not fretting even a little bit about Kimbrel’s 5.09 ERA in a White Sox uniform. As a Cubs closer, he regained his mojo, ripping off an 0.49 mark before being shoved into a square hole on the South Side with his winged arms outstretched.
Last summer, in a desperation deadline deal, Kimbrel went to the American League in exchange for top infield prospect/rookie Nick Madrigal as well as reliever Codi Heuer. Weird package! Madrigal ranked No. 3 in Chicago’s system prior to the 2020 season (per MLB Pipeline), and Heuer bounced back from a difficult first half with a solid few months at Wrigley (3.14 ERA).
So … a top-five prospect and a bounce-back reliever? For a full season of Kimbrel, the Dodgers’ package would certainly start with one marquee prospect. But … then what? Two top-25 names? Another fringe MLB type?
As we see it, how about a three-for-one? No. 4 prospect Bobby Miller, a hard-throwing reliever/starter, plus No. 13 prospect 3B Kody Hoese (whose shine is off, like Heuer’s) and No. 23 prospect RHP Kendall Williams.
Perhaps the Dodgers can slow play this; after all, Chicago has basically climbed the Sears Tower with a megaphone to let interested teams know that Kimbrel’s on the table. Once the lockout ends, expect a flurry of activity, with this hookup possibly coming first.