Dodgers swap contracts and pull off shocking Craig Kimbrel trade
Did Jeff Passan’s “White Sox over Dodgers” World Series pick just get more or less likely with this expensive swap?
According to multiple sources, the Dodgers have used the momentum of April Fools’ Day against a fan base primed for pranks, making a seismic deal less than a week before the regular season is set to begin.
Broken by MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Dodgers looked at 34-year-old AJ Pollock in the last guaranteed year of his four-year, $55 million contract and traded him to an AL challenger, shipping him to Chicago in exchange for all-world closer Craig Kimbrel.
Wonder how Blake Treinen feels about that on the eve of opening the regular season? Or, after the Mariners’ mid-stretch Kendall Graveman trade, are all chemistry bets officially off forever and ever?
Dodgers trade AJ Pollock for Craig Kimbrel
We understand the Dodgers have a significant hole in the back end of the bullpen after Kenley Jansen’s departure (and Joe Kelly’s, and Corey Knebel’s…), but dealing Pollock after losing Matt Beaty earlier in the week is the type of move that bends your brain around.
Gavin Lux, full-time outfielder? Zach McKinstry, come on down? Was such a move worth sacrificing a legitimate, established All-Star who rakes whenever he’s healthy (and whenever the calendar doesn’t say “October”)?
Last season, Pollock posted another underrated season, racking up 3.1 WAR while triple-slashing .297/.355/.536 with a 137 OPS+. With Cody Bellinger a complete wild card at the moment, it seems counterintuitive to create another outfield question mark, unless Max Muncy plans to play second with Chris Taylor in left and another mystery man manning DH.
Friday’s trade cemented that Pollock will never fully get his due in Dodger Blue.
Meanwhile, a delighted Kimbrel will get the chance to close once again and chase Hall of Fame marks. He finished 2021 with a Tale of Two Seasons, maintaining an 0.49 ERA as the Cubs closer before he was swapped for Nick Madrigal and faceplanted as a setup man, losing his grip and posting a 5.09 ERA in 23 regular-season innings on the other side of town.
Signs point to the 33-year-old being a massive upgrade in the ‘pen (and in the final year of a similar four-year, $58 million contract), but at what cost to the offense?