ESPN’s Jesse Rogers was on with Waddle and Silvy today on ESPN 1000, and he shared what he’s hearing on the trade market with the deadline just four days away.
What stood out most was the urgency with which he described the Craig Kimbrel market and timing. It sure sounds like things are in “stay tuned” mode:
“It’s starting to heat up for sure. I really think Craig Kimbrel is top priority right now. That’s where Jed [Hoyer] is going to get the best return, and so I think he’s going to go sooner rather than later …. I think those teams out west could really use him, and Jed could get a haul from one of them because there’s an arms race out there. [The Dodgers, Padres, and Giants], but especially the Dodgers and Padres, they need relievers. They need a guy like Kimbrel. He’s a finishing touch for a World Series contender. So I expect Kimbrel to go pretty soon. It could be today. It could be tomorrow. Within the next few days.”
Obviously there’s a big difference between today and the next few days, because that’s basically the deadline, but overall, it certainly sounded like Rogers was expecting Kimbrel to be dealt by the Cubs long before the deadline. Just the sense I got in listening to him – it felt like one of those, “Oh, he’s heard some things … ” situations.
Always nice when you can pit division rivals against each other for a huge piece like Kimbrel, but it’s not just the NL West that will be eyeing Kimbrel. I imagine Hoyer might be sorting through offers and deep in negotiations as we speak. I wonder if that means Kimbrel won’t take the mound tonight, even in a save situation.
As for the return, we’ve been discussing it for weeks now: arguably the most impactful pitcher available on the market, Kimbrel can transform a race and also provide value next year at $16 million. Maybe the Cubs can’t quite land an Aroldis Chapman-level return, but it might wind up close.