The biggest question about Craig Kimbrel entering the 2021 season is not “Where will the Cubs trade him?” But “Did he do it as an effective reliever?”

The Chicago team signed him a three-year contract in June 2019, which includes a 2022 club option-remember the long delay because the club waited until June to avoid Kimbrel-related Is draft compensation? ——He was a disaster from the beginning. Kimbrel had a career SR score of 1.91 before signing with Chicago, in 2019 it was 6.53, and in the shortened 2020 season it was 5.28.

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He still repelled a large number of batsmen, but his movement was out of control-24 times in 36 innings in two seasons, a 6.0 BB/9 ratio.

But in 2021, his 33-year-old season, he has always been the old Kimbrel. His walking rate has fallen back to 2.8 per 9 innings (his career stat before the Cubs was 3.5), and he is still repelling a large number of batters-54 hits in 31 2/3 innings. ERA is a shiny 0.57, FIP is excellent 1.12, WHIP is stingy 0.663, he has 20 saves out of 22 chances.

But the Cubs will not go anywhere in 2021, and many competitive teams can use a closer approach. Kimbrel has a $16 million club option, which is not cheap, but if he pitches like so far in 2021, it will be worth it.

Here are six teams that should be of interest.

6. Reds

Why is he suitable: Yes, the Cubs may be unlikely to trade with the Reds. But the Reds have a good offense and huge problems in the bullpen, so maybe they have the motivation to make the Cubs worth a try? Even this is questionable. Nevertheless, this special demand is still great, so it is worth mentioning. Amir Garrett, close to this season, has been struggling (6.92 ERA). Lucas Sims has seven saves, but he also has a 5.02 ERA and is on the IL. Tejay Antone performed very well when healthy (1.87 ERA, 11.2 K/9), but he was also on IL.

As a group, Cincy rescuers have an ERA of 5.22 and FIP of 4.81. As we mentioned, Kimbrel’s ERA is 0.57 and FIP is 1.12. Yes, he will be perfect.

5. Red Sox

Why is he suitable: Kimbrel had a great year in Boston (2017), two years were good, but not so good (2016 and 2018), but there ended his 2018 World Series championship. Kimbrel performed well in the 2018 playoffs, not scoring four times and allowed to run on his five outings. Although his performance in October of that year was like walking a tightrope, his field goal percentage was 6 in terms of save opportunities.

And, yes, there is a closer guy in Boston now, who will travel to Denver to participate in the Matt Barnes All-Star Game. However, if the goal is to win everything, then there cannot be too many locked weapons behind the bullpen.

4. Blue Jays

Why is he suitable: The problem with the Toronto — uh, Buffalo — bullpen is that most rescuers are either struggling or landing in Illinois. This is a rough punch or two that needs to be overcome. Jordan Romano performed well on the back end (1.76 ERA, seven saves and six saves), but he is one of only two substitutes on the roster, pitching more than six games for the club and having an ERA of less than 4.44. Damn. However, this is a talented team that can enter the playoffs and last until October. However, if there is no more stability in the bullpen, this will not happen.

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3. Phillies

Why is he suitable: Remember the last time the Phillies were competitors — or competitor pretenders — they had a rock-solid bullpen? I do not have either. The Phillies have been hovering around 0.500 for most of the season, but this puts them close to the NL Eastern Conference title-they are 4 games behind the Mets, but are 7 1/2 behind in the second game-card Point-they really want to make the playoffs for the first time in the Bryce Harper era. Their rescuers are not as bad as they were in 2020, but that doesn’t mean much. Giving Kimbrel the ninth inning can help the entire unit find a long-lost rhythm.

2. Athletics

Why is he suitable: We are not the only ones who think this is appropriate.

A’s knows they need to be behind the bullpen, which is why they signed closer Trevor Rosenthal this offseason. But Rosenthal will not pitch for A in 2021. He underwent thoracic outlet surgery in April and then announced this week that he will undergo hip surgery, thus ending his season. Lou Trevino and Jake Diekman made a total of 20 saves this year, but they also made 6 saves together. The Oakland bullpen is not a disaster like some of the teams on this list, but it may not be good enough to be promoted in October. This is the club’s goal.

1. an astronaut

Why is he suitable: With the club approaching, Ryan Pressly performed very well-1.50 ERA, 9.2 K/BB, 15 saves out of 16 chances-but the rest of the bullpen has been… well, we can say This is not an advantage. Even if the Astros added Kimbrel, they could also consider adding other weapons. This is a club motivated to win everything in 2021 to show that their previous success-including the 2017 World Series championship-is not just because of cheating. Nevertheless, you know, they must have cheated.


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