Trading Craig Kimbrel isn’t in the Chicago White Sox best interest. However, they should consider dealing Andrew Vaughn.
When the White Sox drafted first baseman Andrew Vaughn in 2019, he was near MLB-ready and a star first baseman in the making. The only issue? Chicago already has one of the best first basemen in the game.
Jose Abreu is among the best players in the entire American League. He’s not coming off his position for Vaughn. Unless the White Sox opt to use him as a DH or super-utility player forever, it could make sense to trade for the former Cal Golden Bear for a position of need.
Kimbrel, meanwhile, is coming off a rough start on the South Side. His 5.09 ERA and 1.217 WHIP in 24 appearances was a far cry from his success just miles away with the Cubs. But should they give up on him now?
White Sox: Trading Craig Kimbrel doesn’t make sense
In general, trading Kimbrel would be ideal for a team that already has a strong bullpen with Liam Hendriks on the back end. The only issue is that Kimbrel is coming off a putrid second half on 2021, meaning his trade value is at an all-time low.
Chicago would be better off waiting for Kimbrel to return to form — his ERA was basically a fifth of the 5.09 the White Sox were used to in his time with the Cubs before last year’s trade deadline. THAT version of Kimbrel would be an asset to any bullpen, including the White Sox.
Vaughn, meanwhile, remains young enough to trade for an intriguing asset right when the lockout ends. He’s not far removed from top prospect status. Vaughn slashed .235/.309/.396 across 469 plate appearances last year, and played first base, left field, right field, second base and third base.
That’s a useful young player on just about any team, especially one far from contention. In return, the White Sox could add a real contributor at a position of need, rather than sticking Vaughn all over the field and hurting his development as a potential All-Star.