There’s no question that the Phillies need a legitimate closer for the 2022 season. The fanbase has had it with the Brandon Workman’s and Ian Kennedy’s of the world. It hasn’t been since Jonathan Papelbon, love him or hate him, that the Phillies have had a bonafide closer.
Luckily for the Phillies, there appears to be one available on the trade market.
Long-time rival closer, Craig Kimbrel, could be available from the Chicago White Sox. Their General Manager, Rick Hahn, hinted as much at the GM meetings a couple of weeks ago.
‘‘It didn’t work out the way we wanted last year, so perhaps there is a better use of his skills than how we were doing it. So we have to reconsider his usage with us versus a potential trade”Rick Hahn via Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun Times
Kimbrel pitched amazingly well as the closer for the Chicago Cubs to begin the season. He successfully saved 23 games in 25 opportunities with a 0.49 ERA. He was as dominant as dominant could be. His performance netted him his 8th All-Star Game appearance.
Things changed after he was dealt to the White Sox. He recorded just one save as the South Side Sox moved Kibrel to a set-up role with Liam Hendriks as the closer. In that role, Kimbrel posted a 5.06 ERA.
What would it take for the Phillies to land Craig Kimbrel?
Kimbrel’s value obviously dropped after his disappointing stint with the White Sox. When the Sox traded for him it was at peak value. That’s the reason they had to give up Codi Heuer, a fire-balling righty reliever, and Nick Madrigal, a slap-hitting second baseman. Madrigal who was picked immediately after Alec Bohm in the 2018 draft, has yet to hit under .300 in the majors.
Unless the Phillies want the White Sox to eat all of Kimbrel’s $16 million contract, there’s zero chance they’ll have to match that price. He’d be way less expensive than someone like Josh Hader as Jon Heyman noted.
And yes, Dave Dombrowski acquired him while he was with Boston, leading the team to a 2018 World Series win.
The Phillies have recently acquired 2 catchers in 2 separate trades. They got Donny Sands from the Yankees and Garrett Stubbs from the Astros. This has made a Rafael Marchan or a Logan O’Hoppe moveable for the Phillies.
Catcher is a positional need for the White Sox as Yasmani Grandal is now 33 years old and had knee surgery last season. Their backup, Zach Collins, hasn’t shown a capacity to hit in the majors nor has he been able to control opposing baserunners. In parts of 3 seasons, he has a 16% caught stealing rate.
The White Sox are also devoid of any catching prospects as MLB.com doesn’t have 1 listed in their top 30.
Rafael Marchan, having some major league experience, would make the most sense. He’s been praised by Phillies’ skipper Joe Girardi and seemed to have several teams interested during the 2021 trade deadline.
Pairing Marchan with a SS prospect like Luis Garcia would most likely get a deal done. Both have been regarded as top-10 prospects for the Phillies. Losing Garcia wouldn’t hurt either as Bryson Stott looks to make the leap to the majors in 2022.
Something to Look at
If the Phillies will be adopting the DH in 2022, they should inquire about the availability of Yermin Mercedes. The soon to be 29 year old made his debut last season and slashed .271/.328/.404. He started off the season absolutely on fire until he did this.
After Yermin hit a garbage-time home run, Tony La Russa basically threw his own player under a bus. Any young player’s confidence would be shaken after their own manager ridicules them.
Mercedes was slashing .364/.410/.574 after that game. He hit just .162 after this moment.
He hit .275 after being sent down. He 100% needs a change of scenery.
Photo by John McCoy/Icon Sportswire