The Chicago Cubs are dealing with a downward spiral, which could spell good news for the Houston Astros, who can stand to add closer Craig Kimbrel.
The Chicago Cubs were exceeding expectations, as they entered the 2021 season as sellers and looked to be bonafide contenders in the National League. But they have fallen off a cliff recently, as they have lost 10 straight games entering Tuesday night. With the team falling below .500, general manager Jed Hoyer could sell at the MLB trade deadline at the end of the month if things continue to get worse for the team.
Perhaps the biggest trade piece on the Cubs is closer Craig Kimbrel, who is in the mist of a comeback campaign. A high-ranking baseball executive told ESPN’s Buster Olney listed two teams as potential candidates to acquire Kimbrel at the deadline, and they are the Oakland Athletics and the Houston Astros. It is no secret that the Astros desperately need to improve their bullpen, so here is how they can trade for Kimbrel.
Craig Kimbrel’s contract details
Kimbrel signed on with the Cubs mid-way through the 2019 season, which is for three-seasons worth a total of $43 million. However, the veteran closer does have a vesting/club option for the 2022 season worth $16 million. per Spotrac.
Through 32 games this season (30.2 innings of work), Kimbrel recorded a 0.59 ERA, a 0.652 WHIP, 53 strikeouts, 10 walks and 20 saves.
What it would take for Astros to acquire Craig Kimbrel?
When looking at Kimbrel’s numbers this season, any team that acquires him will likely pick up the club option for the 2022 campaign. That could work in Chicago’s favor, as they can ask more from prospective teams leading up to the July 30 deadline. So, what would it take for the Astros to acquire Kimbrel?
If the Astros are serious about getting Kimbrel to avoid the rival Athletics landing him instead, they would likely have to send right-handed pitcher Hunter Brown (Houston’s No. 3 overall prospect), relief pitcher Bryan Abreu and two other top-30 prospects in the farm system to Chicago to acquire Kimbrel.
The Astros are currently in first-place in the AL West with a 52-33 record as of this writing, but if they want to make another deep run in the postseason, they need to build a super bullpen. Their bullpen has converted 19-of-32 save opportunities (59-percent), which ranks below the 62-percent league average, per Baseball Reference. Sure, Ryan Pressly has been solid for Houston, but imagine the success the team can have by adding Kimbrel to it?