Red Sox Trade Rumors: Boston should not trade for Craig Kimbrel
The Red Sox don’t need to add Craig Kimbrel
Here we are, friends! A few short days away from another Trade Deadline and the Red Sox are in the thick of things in regards to several possible deals. This year feels a lot different than 2020 as we’re buyers now instead of trying to hold a garage sale at Fenway Park. One name that has come up over and over as a possible target for Boston is Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel. A familiar face in these parts but not one that I believe this team needs to break the bank to bring back to the organization.
Per MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, there are seven teams that have seriously approached Chicago about taking Kimbrel off of their hands with the Red Sox being one of them. That should come as no surprise as Boston is well ahead of their rebuild schedule and have a very strong chance at contending this season. Adding a high-level reliever only boosts those odds and having it be someone formerly with the team makes sense as well. I’m still not sold on the idea though.
A few weeks ago it was mentioned by ESPN’s Buster Olney that the Red Sox could be in the market to bring Dirty Craig back to the squad as he’s having an elite year. That’s nice and all, but Boston has a closer already in Matt Barnes and last I checked, he’s having one hell of a 2021. When that tweet from Buster came out I wrote that Chaim Bloom should stay far away from Kimbrel and I feel that way still to this day. Since then, some factors have changed but not enough for me to want the fireballer back in Boston.
In the time that’s passed from that initial report and article Bloom and company have given Barnes a two-year contract extension that will see the closer stay with the club through the 2023 season. There’s also a club option for the 2024 campaign is Matty Backpacks is still doing the damn thing. So why even approach the Cubs about Kimbrel? As I said above, I get the feeling of wanting to get as many weapons as possible for October considering nobody thought the Sox would see the postseason in 2021, but it just doesn’t make sense.
Why would Bloom invest in Barnes to be the closer of the future if he was just going to go out and get Kimbrel a few weeks later? Listen, I get that many in Red Sox Nation would love to have Craig back in the bullpen especially with his 0.49 ERA, 15.7 K/9, and 64 strikeouts, but Barnes isn’t exactly Austin Brice over here. Matty B has a 2.36 ERA, 13.9 K/9, and 65 strikeouts. So Dirty Craig edges him out in ERA and he also carries one more save with 23 to Barnes’ 22. The stats don’t make me want to make that call to Wrigley but then we have to talk about the money.
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Kimbrel will be a free agent at the end of this season but does carry a club option for 2022, his salary for both years is $16M. Barnes is set to make just $4.5M this year with an increase to $7.25M next year when his new deal kicks in. Chicago will want Boston to flip the bill for some of Craig’s 2021 salary so even if they take half, you’re paying double for a guy that could walk at the end of the year anyway. It just doesn’t make sense on any front. Why trade prospects for a guy that will cost you more to do the same job that you may not even retain when the year is up?
Chaim is one of the smartest dudes in the game, I think we can all agree on that. He very well may be playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers. I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually doesn’t have an honest interest in Kimbrel but is trying to drive up the price for the competition. Yeah, he may not land in Boston but Bloom could work the other teams into overpaying and weakening themselves for years to come. That’s some next-level stuff that I wouldn’t put past the CBO at all.
Craig Kimbrel is one of the best relievers in the game today and is the absolute best when it comes to closing games out in 2021. He’s been damn near unhittable and would boost any team’s relief efforts by having him. I just don’t feel like bringing him back to the Red Sox is the right move based on his contract status and the fact that we already have another one of the best closers on our staff. This just doesn’t feel like the right fit at the right time and Bloom and his team should walk away from the table.