Craig Kimbrel on block?
The White Sox got knocked off by the Astros on Tuesday, and are now forced to look ahead to the offseason and how to get deeper into the postseason next year. One of their first orders of business will be to pick up or decline the $16 million option for the closer for 2022. Bob Nightengale is reporting that the plan right now is to pick up that option, but with the intention to trade him.
This is certainly not what the White Sox had in mind when they acquired the closer in a crosstown trade with the Cubs, giving up Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer in the process. Kimbrel did not perform well in the second half with the Pale Hose, pitching to an ERA over 5.00 and struggling in the ALDS against Houston. His trade market will be fascinating.
And of course, the Red Sox will likely be looking for late-inning help with Matt Barnes being a huge question mark and Garrett Whitlock likely moving to more of a starting role. So that connection is going to be obvious, and there’s a good argument they should consider it. Kimbrel was bad with the White Sox, but he was lights out in the first half with the Cubs, looking like the Kimbrel of old. At his price tag, they likely would not have to give much at all in terms of prospects. That said, we’ve been down this road before, and it’s hard to see a reunion. There should be other options available, too, and Kimbrel also had not looked great the previous two season, so while I think there’s merit to the idea it’s probably for the best if they look elsewhere for their ninth inning hole.
Arizona Fall League kicks off
The Arizona Fall League got started on Wednesday, and I’ll try to provide quick daily recaps in this space. In the opener, Connor Seabold got the start for Scottsdale, the team with whom Red Sox prospects are playing this year. The righty struggled a bit, allowing four runs (three earned) over 2 1⁄3 innings on three hits (one homer) and three walks with three strikeouts. Andrew Politi pitched late in the game as well, tossing a scoreless eighth with his team down one, allowing just one hit without issuing a walk and striking out two. But the real story was Triston Casas, who did this.