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White Sox Acquire Closer Craig Kimbrel From Cubs

The White Sox have acquired Cubs' closer Craig Kimbrel in a blockbuster deal ahead of the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline.
Craig Kimbrel Trade

Photo: Cubs/Twitter

After acquiring right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera from their crosstown rivals on Thursday, the Chicago White Sox have struck another deal with the Chicago Cubs.

This time, it's for closer Craig Kimbrel. The White Sox will reportedly send second baseman Nick Madrigal and reliever Codi Heuer to the Cubs.

Kimbrel will give the White Sox more back-end bullpen stability alongside Liam Hendriks and Aaron Bummer, both of whom have had their struggles so far in 2021. The additions of Tepera and Kimbrel provide relief to the rest of the staff and will likely shake up the roles of arms moving forward.

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The Cubs are getting a former first-round pick in Madrigal, who was the league's most decorated nine-hole hitter with low strikeout numbers, a high contact rate, and a high on-base percentage. Heuer is a former sixth-round pick who showed signs of being a legitimate high-leverage bullpen arm in 2020 but has endured his share of struggles this season.

While Madrigal is out for the 2021 season with a hamstring injury, his years of control through 2026 (2023-2026 are arbitration years) are a bonus for the Cubs, who now have their future second baseman. Kimbrel has a $16 million vesting option for 2022 and becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2023.