White Sox GM Says Team is Open to Moving Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel with the Cubs
Craig Kimbrel with the Cubs. Photo by Nicholas T Loverde/CSM/Shutterstock (10328032bd)

Earlier this week, the Chicago White Sox made an expected decision to pick up their 2022 club option on the contract of their Craig Kimbrel. But the All-Star reliever isn’t expected to pitch much for the franchise next season despite this.

Several previous reports indicated that the White Sox have every intention to trade Kimbrel after picking his option and the team’s general manager Rick Hahn did nothing to dispute them while chatting with media on Tuesday. While speaking about the 33-year-old, Hahn said that while Chicago views him as “a potentially impactful reliever,” they are open to moving him if the opportunity presents itself.

“What we have to figure out is if it makes the most sense to have Craig in a White Sox uniform going forward or is there a better use of that spot and him perhaps via trade,” Hahn said.

Kimbrel joined the White Sox via trade from the Chicago Cubs midway through the 2021 MLB season with a reputation of being one of the game’s best closers. But considering they already had a star closer in Liam Hendriks, the team opted to use Kimbrel exclusively in the eighth inning. This proved to be a mistake, however, as the veteran struggled to make a meaningful impact.

Serving as a closer for the Cubs in the first part of the 2021 campaign, Kimbrel had a 0.49 ERA with 63 strikeouts. In the White Sox uniform, however, his ERA skyrocketed to 5.09 and he only managed 36 strikeouts.

Hahn acknowledged Kimbrel’s struggles while pointing out that the two-time Reliever of the Year might have more use to some other team.

“It didn’t work out the way we wanted last year so perhaps there’s a better use of his skills than how we were doing it,” he added. “So we have to reconsider his usage with us versus a potential trade.”

Kimbrel, who also played with the Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox among other teams, made eight All-Star selections. He has a career 2.18 ERA with 1,026 strikeouts, while his 372 saves rank 9th on the MLB’s all-time list.