No Craig Kimbrel for the Phillies.
The Cubs are trading their elite closer to the crosstown White Sox for a pair of major-leaguers in infielder Nick Madrigal and reliever Codi Heuer, USA Today reports.
Kimbrel was by far the best reliever on the trade market and is having the best season of his storied, likely Hall of Fame career. He had a 0.49 ERA and 23 saves in 39 appearances with the Cubs, striking out 47% of the batters he faced.
Kimbrel was a lofty target for the Phillies during this trade period. Bullpen help has been a season-long need and it was known the Cubs would trade Kimbrel as part of their rebuild. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has said in recent weeks that he’s liked what Ranger Suarez has done in the ninth inning, but that wasn’t going to stand in the way of pursuing high-end bullpen help.
Madrigal was the fourth overall pick in 2018, taken a spot after the Phillies selected Alec Bohm. He’s hit .317/.358/.406 in 324 major-league plate appearances.
It’s possible that the Phillies would have had to part with Bohm to acquire Kimbrel, who has one year remaining on his contract after 2021 in the form of a $16 million club option. It’s also possible the Cubs valued Madrigal more. Either way, 2020 first-round pitcher Mick Abel was an obvious non-starter as the Phillies and the industry, in general, are extremely high on him.
The Phillies are still in search of pitching. As of 90 minutes before Friday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline, the only move they’d made was a minor swap of minor-leaguers with the Pirates.