Craig Kimbrel Trade Odds: A’s, Yankees, Mets Favorites To Acquire Closer
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: Craig Kimbrel.
Chicago Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel has been linked to a move out of Chicago due to his impending free agency and the Cubs’ precarious playoff position.
The Cubs entered play on Wednesday 9.5 games back from the Brewers in the NL Central and eight games back from the second Wild Card spot. FanGraphs gives them less than a 2% chance of making the playoffs.
They’re firm sellers and their World Series winning core of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez are on the block, too. All three are eligible for free agency after the season.
Kimbrel, who was not a part of that 2016 roster, has rebounded after a tough first two seasons with the Cubs.
In 2019, he had a 6.53 ERA over just 20.2 innings pitched. The following season, he had a 5.28 ERA in 15.1 innings over a pandemic-shortened year.
This season, he’s has a 0.49 ERA over 36.2 innings with 23 saves and made his first All-Star appearance since 2018. Kimbrel is tied for 34th among pitchers in WAR with 2.3, according to ESPN.
Naturally, with those factors in mind, teams have been calling Chicago about his availability. As of Wednesday, the Oakland A’s are slim favorites to nab the eight-time All-Star at +325.
Craig Kimbrel Trade Odds
Odds according to PointsBet (Colorado only) as of Wednesday night
The A’s are six games back from the Astros for first in the AL West and lead the Wild Card standings by a game and a half.
Oakland has a 37.9% chance to make the playoffs and a 5.2% chance to win the division as of Wednesday night, according to FanGraphs.
The Yankees are second-best favorites to acquire Kimbrel at +350. New York is clearly a buyer at the deadline after a shaky start to the season and acquired Texas Rangers outfielder and first baseman Joey Gallo on Wednesday night.
While the Yankees entered the season -223 favorites to win the AL East, they are 8.5 games back from the first-place Boston Red Sox as of Wednesday. Their odds to win the division were 11-1 at DraftKings, 15-1 at PointsBet, 14-1 at BetMGM and 13-1 at FanDuel before their move for Gallo.
New York’s regular closer, Aroldis Chapman, has struggled mightily this season and has blown four saves. Chapman has a 4.04 ERA over 35.2 innings so far this year.
The Mets are third-best favorites to land the right-hander with +400 odds. Their main ninth-inning specialist, Edwin Diaz, has also four blown saves and has a 3.98 ERA over 40.2 innings so far this year. While Diaz has shown flashes of the brilliance that warranted that splashy 2018 trade for Jarred Kelenic, the flashes have been wildly inconsistent.
The Red Sox are next up with +500 odds, but they have a serviceable closer in Matt Barnes, who has thrown 42 innings this season with a 2.36 ERA and 22 saves. Still, the more bullpen help the better, especially in that tight AL East race. As of Wednesday, they’re just 1.5 games up on the Tampa Bay Rays.
Kimbrel started his career with the Atlanta Braves, who drafted him in the third round of the 2010 MLB Draft.
The reliever with that distinct pre-pitch pose was then traded in 2014 to the San Diego Padres, then the following year to the Boston Red Sox. There, he won a World Series in 2018 over the Los Angeles Dodgers and registered a save in Game 2.