The Chicago Cubs are just a half-game out of the NL Central lead. They went into St. Louis and took 2 out of 3, including a dramatic win in front of a nationally televised audience. They followed that up with a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The superstars have found their hitting groove. They finally have a reliable bullpen that includes the homegrown talent Cubs fans have been yearning for. Also, they have a potential future Hall of Fame closer who is back to his previous dominant self after injuries seemed to slow him down. That being said, the Chicago Cubs should be looking to trade Craig Kimbrel at the trade deadline.
This seems like a crazy proposition given all of the above but let’s take a quick gander at the current situation of the Chicago Cubs.
Good or Great?
While this team could win the division, they are not currently equipped to truly make a run at a World Series title. The bullpen has been fantastic but the issue at hand remains, inconsistency of the offense and starting pitching. Without the latter two, the Cubs are looking at an early postseason exit once again.
This bullpen is currently equipped to handle their roles and fill in for Kimbrel. They may be young with a small sample size, but two relievers currently have better numbers than Kimbrel on this roster.
It will need to be a closer by committee but there is no reason to believe this unit cannot live up to the challenge as they have thus far.
The Cubs are not going to be buyers at the deadline, it is as simple as that. They do not have the benefit of a very deep farm system to be shipping off prospects. Trading Craig Kimbrel for a prospect also allows them to keep the other big-name prospects around to pitch them on long-term deals before the season ends.
Most importantly, Craig Kimbrel is set to be a free agent after this season. With the year he has had, he will most likely be asking for top dollar on the free agent market. The Cubs have issues of their own when it comes to cash so odds are he will not be donning a Cubs uniform next year anyways.
A top-notch closer will always be a need for teams looking to make a World Series push. Teams are always looking to bolster their bullpen for October. Craig Kimbrel’s value could not get higher at the current moment, one would imagine the Cubs could at least get a decent prospect in return for Kimbrel.
This may be tough for fans to stomach but it is truly the best move for the franchise moving forward. The team could bolster their already flourishing farm system while giving up a player who is going to be wearing a different jersey next season regardless.
Worst case scenario, Andrew Chafin can step right in and be the second coming of Rod Beck. He would accept that honor with open arms.