Offseason Decision: Kimbrel's Option

Asia's Tech News Daily

With their postseason run euthanized far too quickly, the White Sox are already forced to look to 2022, with several crucial decisions to make in that time. Over the course of the next two weeks, I hope to examine what I see as fundamentally critical choices facing Rick Hahn this offseason, and I will tackle arguably the biggest one first: Should the White Sox pick up Craig Kimbrel’s option?

© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Answer: No.

There, I saved you a lot of time by being nice and direct with it. Enjoy the rest of the site.

For those of you who demand further analysis, allow me to explain.

The biggest elephant in the room is, of course, Kimbrel’s massive salary: $16 million for a reliever is a LOT of money, especially on a roster that’s already carrying one pretty expensive closer in Liam Hendriks. While I’m all for investing in an elite bullpen, this is hardly a good way for a team that adheres to self-imposed salary restrictions to use its limited resources. It’s one thing if the team spent toward the top of the league, which would allow them to absorb the risk of Kimbrel’s salary and still sign other top players. But when your owner keeps you hovering around the league median, it can be crippling, especially when the price of retaining your core keeps escalating.

Total salaries of Tim Anderson, Eloy Jiménez, Luis Robert, Lucas Giolito, Aaron Bummer, and Yoán Moncada:

2021: $28.03 million

2022: $47.63 million (assuming $8.5 million for Giolito in arbitration)

That’s nearly $20 million added onto the payroll for 2022 without adding a single player. Let’s face it, $16 million for Kimbrel probably matters.

Then there’s the other, only slightly smaller elephant in the room: Kimbrel’s performance. Before the 2021 trade deadline, Kimbrel put together one of the best three month stretches of his storied career. He was striking out hitters at a massive rate, and his walk rate (which had spiked horribly the preceding seasons) was back under control. Nobody was barreling him up; it was a remarkable stretch.

But after the trade to the South Side, something changed. The strikeouts were still there, and the walk rate didn’t rise all that much, but hitters barreled him up at a far greater rate. His home run rate went from virtually nonexistent to one of the worst in the league. Kimbrel wasn’t giving up a ton of hits, but what he did give up was highly damaging. The White Sox never knew one day to the next whether he’d blow away the opposing team in order or start giving up taters like he owned land in Idaho.

There are two scenarios for picking up Kimbrel’s option, neither of which I find appealing. Let’s examine both.

1. Pick up Kimbrel’s option and look for him to rebound.

As discussed previously, Kimbrel’s three-month stretch this season with the Cubs was the stuff of legend. If you believe that version of Kimbrel can come back, then sure, that’s worth throwing $16 million at. The problem is, recent history suggests that is very much the exception for Kimbrel, and not the norm.

Upon signing with the Cubs in June 2019 after holding out for a big contract in an unusually cold Hot Stove offseason, Kimbrel promptly turned in a disastrous campaign. In 23 relief appearances, totaling 20 23 innings, Kimbrel allowed a 1.019 OPS. Basically, opposing lineups turned into Bryce Harper, en masse. Kimbrel was a half win below replacement level by most standards, even in that limited sample.

The 2020 season did not bring about much in the way of a rebound. While he was definitely better, but in the course of that shortened season his walk rate spiked to absurd levels. So despite allowing relatively few hits, opposing lineups put together a .348 OBP against Kimbrel due to 12 free passes allowed in his first eight innings pitched. To his credit, Kimbrel did finish the season on a dominant run, allowing no runs or walks in his final eight appearances.

That was the form he showed to open 2021, and what the White Sox were expecting when they acquired him. Sadly, they got something more akin to the troubled veteran who first arrived with the Cubs for two abbreviated campaigns. Spanning the last month of 2020 and his pre-deadline performance in 2021, Kimbrel put together 47 elite relief appearances. The problem is that the other 57 appearances were, at best, a mixed bag, and largely just plain bad.

Generously speaking, Kimbrel has been a very good pitcher roughly half the time over the last three seasons. But nobody pays a reliever $16 million to be good 50% of the time, and cough up games left and right the other half. Heck, nobody even retains a reliever that performs like that once he hits arbitration, usually. If the White Sox want to bolster their relief corps, there are FAR better bets for that sort of money.

2) Pick up Kimbrel’s option and trade him.

Every time I see this idea bandied about it elicits a chortle.

“Let’s trade this underwater contract on a shaky reliever for something we need!”

First, nobody wants to trade for Kimbrel next season. Second, even if they were kinda willing to do so, nobody is willing to trade something useful to pick up his contract. At best, they’re looking at trading one underwater contract for another, and while there are plenty of examples of trading dead money for dead money that turn out relatively well, I’m not aware of any that didn’t involve two teams who were backed into a corner with a contract — not one who invited such a scenario by picking up a contract option unnecessarily.

Simply put, there is no value in Kimbrel’s deal. If he were still a reliable reliever, he would still have dubious value just given the sheer amount of money owed to him. Look no further than David Robertson (who was a much more reliable reliever at the time), whose value did not rise past the Ian Clarkin/Tito Polo level when traded. And if Kimbrel is still considered a reliable reliever, given the serious issues in the White Sox bullpen in 2021, why would they consider trading him away?

The only way Kimbrel has any value in trade is if the White Sox kick in most of his salary and/or they throw in a prospect or other player of actual value. But again, why would the White Sox willingly invite either scenario? Anybody who is willing to trade a prospect would be doubly willing to do so without Kimbrel attached, and anything a team is willing to offer for Kimbrel at a reduced salary is probably not worth picking up the remainder.

The bottom line is that there is no scenario where picking up Kimbrel’s option is a worthwhile endeavor, short of him being some version of his early 2021 self — and that’s an awfully low-probability gamble with an awful lot of money on the line. The rest of the league saw what Kimbrel looked like with the White Sox, and nobody’s gonna bet $16 million that they’re going to get the pre-trade version.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow. The White Sox gave up significant pieces of their team for 2022 and beyond in order to acquire Kimbrel, and not only did he not deliver, he absolutely stunk. While nobody should consider it a bad trade in hindsight (the trade itself was sound), the results were absolutely bad, and picking up Kimbrel’s option is just doubling down on those results. Yes, the trade is a loss, but the likelihood of breaking even in the long run is not high enough to risk significant salary resources on.

Nobody should blame Hahn for the trade not working out. But if he picks up the option and is therefore forced to shop on the cheap for other very necessary pieces on the market, it will absolutely hamstring him, short of Jerry uncharacteristically offering him a blank check for 2022.

Consider their position: If the ONLY player who returns in arbitration is Lucas Giolito, they’re at roughly $117 million in payroll for the 10-player core roster in 2022. Even if Reinsdorf expands payroll to an unprecedented $160 million (which puts them just outside of Top 10 payroll territory), that’s approximately $43 million to find a new second baseman and right fielder, never mind players to fill out the other 14 positions. That’s pretty thin margins to find a top guy or two, even if most of those wind up being pre-arb players.

Dallas Keuchel probably can’t be unloaded (and Chicago’s starting pitching is too thin, anyhow). José Abreu is untradeable for both sentimental and practical reasons. Significant salary relief is not on the horizon; retaining Kimbrel on his option, in even the best-case scenario, is just not a tenable proposition. The White Sox will need more than one reliever this offseason, particularly with Michael Kopech likely transitioning to the rotation and cheap internal options like Matt Foster, Ryan Burr, and Jimmy Lambert not inspiring any confidence. The White Sox could use two Ryan Teperas more than they could use one Craig Kimbrel in 2022.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


Trial begins of Brooklyn judge accused of ‘cover-up' of corruption at MCU credit union

A Brooklyn judge who received tens of thousands of dollars worth of pricey perks in her role as the chair of a major credit union tried to stymy a federal ... Read more »

Barcelona prefer Ferran Torres to Dani Olmo - report

© Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images Barcelona’s longtime crush Dani Olmo might not be an inevitability at the club after all. According to a report from Sport, ... Read more »

Shearer blasts moment of ‘madness' from Newcastle man which ‘could have cost' Magpies

© PA Images Alan Shearer pictured at Elland Road while working as a pundit for Amazon Prime Newcastle legend Alan Shearer has slammed defender Ciaran Clark for his actions in ... Read more »

Police searching for missing Kokomo man

Nov. 30—The Kokomo Police Department is asking the public for help in locating a Howard County man that has been missing since late October. According to a KPD media release, ... Read more »

As Alec Baldwin faces a lawsuit, all eyes are on the gun that killed Halyna Hutchins

On Thursday, Oct. 21, Day 12 of a 21-day shoot for a modest-budget Western called “Rust,” the call sheet laid out the hours ahead for catering, crew, producers, actors, horse ... Read more »

Newly released police report reveals 'Rust' director Joel Souza's first account of fatal shooting

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza speaks during a press conference at the Santa Fe County Public Safety Building to update members of the media on the shooting accident on ... Read more »

LaMelo Ball wants to show NBA officials how to properly ref basketball

Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball shared his thoughts on the officiating during the Nov. 29 game between the Hornets and the Chicago Bulls.  © Provided by Fansided Monday night ... Read more »

Enes Kanter Freedom Has A Message For LeBron James

© Provided by The Spun Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom handles the ball. Enes Kanter Freedom has been openly critical this season of LeBron James, along with Nike, for ... Read more »

Robin Goodfellow's Racing Tips: Best bets for Wednesday, December 1

Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow dishes out his tips for Wednesday’s meetings at Haydock, Lingfield and Kempton.  Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow dishes out his tips for Wednesday’s meetings HAYDOCK ROBIN ... Read more »

'Soft schedule' talk surrounding Warriors' 18-2 start isn't backed up by data

To some naysayers, the Golden State Warriors’ 18-2 start is the result of easy scheduling that’s allowed a team missing its superstar guard and purported superstar-in-waiting center to waltz its ... Read more »

Utrolig overtidsdrama da Leeds beseiret Crystal Palace

© Craig Brough (Reuters / NTB) INTENST: Leeds-backen Junior Firpo (liggende) og Daniel James ga Crystal Palace-stjernen Wilfried Zaha god match på hurtigheten, men strevde mer i angrep. Utrolig overtidsdrama ... Read more »

VAR-straffe på overtid ga Leeds seieren

Palace-stopper Marc Guehi gikk opp i hodeduell med Leeds-stopper Liam Cooper med armen rett ut foran seg. Da Cooper stusset ballen, fortsatte den rett inn i knyttneven hans. Dommer Kevin ... Read more »

Philly teenager, victim of brutal, racially-motivated train attack, speaks out

Christina Lu, a Philadelphia high school student who was one of the victims of a brutal, racially motivated attack earlier this month, spoke out for the first time Tuesday. The ... Read more »

NASA worker was accused of threatening to kill ex-wife. But she framed him, feds say

An employee for NASA working at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida was placed on leave in 2018 after he was accused of sending harassing and threatening emails from his ... Read more »

Arsenal defender Gabriel fought off baseball bat wielding attacker in attempted armed robbery

Arsenal defender Gabriel fought off baseball bat wielding attacker in attempted armed robbery – GE Gabriel, the Arsenal defender, wrestled a baseball-bat wielding attacker to the ground as raiders attempted ... Read more »

Court date set for Robert Carter case

Nov. 30—THOMASVILLE — A jury trial has been set for the murder suspect of the July 2018 killing of a Thomasville woman. Robert Carter is expected to stand trial on ... Read more »

Pfizer seeks U.S. authorization of COVID-19 booster shots for 16, 17 year olds

FILE PHOTO: Children age 5 to 11 receive COVID-19 vaccines in Louisville (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc's Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said on Tuesday the company has submitted a request ... Read more »

5-star QB recruit verbally commits to Lincoln Riley and USC a day after decommitting from Oklahoma

It didn't take Malachi Nelson long to follow Lincoln Riley to USC. Nelson is a five-star recruit and the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the class of 2023 according to ... Read more »

Leeds 1-0 Crystal Palace: Raphinha scores last-gasp penalty

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo It took Leeds 93 minutes and a helping hand from Marc Guehi and VAR. But they finally found a way to win at ... Read more »

Vancouver Whitecaps confirm Vanni Sartini as permanent head coach

© Provided by 90min Sartini is the club’s new permanent head coach | Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports The Vancouver Whitecaps named Vanni Sartini as head coach, promoting the interim manager ... Read more »

Match Recap: Leeds United 1-0 Crystal Palace

© Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images Raphinha celebrates with Forhshaw and Roberts as the winning goal erupts Elland Road. Leeds United snatched a crucial victory over Crystal Palace at the ... Read more »

Leeds 1-0 Crystal Palace: Raphinha's stoppage-time penalty provides priceless three points

© Action Images via Reuters raphinhaleedswin.jpg Raphinha’s last-gasp penalty gave Leeds a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace and a much-needed boost for Marcelo Bielsa’s side. It was goalless for more ... Read more »

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel tells Andreas Christensen to ‘walk the talk' over contract situation

© Chelsea FC via Getty Images Chelsea christensen nov 21 Thomas Tuchel has told Andreas Christensen to end the uncertainty over his future – and suggested the Dane’s recent omission ... Read more »

Tomas Soucek can juggle new role in West Ham team with a return to goalscoring form, says David Moyes

© Action Images via Reuters tomas soucek nov 21 David Moyes is confident Tomas Soucek can find his touch in front of goal once more having not scored since the ... Read more »

Alan Shearer insists he's 'scared stiff' of Newcastle's defending as he picks out 'basic individual errors' in draw against Norwich and admits that he's 'not convinced' Eddie Howe's side will have enough to survive

Newcastle's winless run extended to 14 games with a 1-1 draw against NorwichCiaran Clark was sent off after just nine minutes in their important clashCallum Wilson gave them the lead before Teemu Pukki earned Norwich a pointFabian Schar nearly gifted Norwich all three points with a late mistake Shearer was concerned about 'basic individual errors' from his former side  Read more »

Almere City zet hoog in voor opvolger van Gertjan Verbeek

© Aangeboden door Voetbalzone Almere City heeft Maurice Steijn in beeld als opvolger van de ontslagen Gertjan Verbeek, zo stelt De Telegraaf. De voormalig trainer van onder meer NAC Breda, ... Read more »

Swift selling local media assets to Ogden Newspapers

ASPEN, Colo. — Swift Communications, which owns a range of daily and weekly newspapers across the American West, announced Tuesday it is selling its local media and publishing businesses to ... Read more »

Juventus skolil Salernitanu, Barákova Verona remizovala s Cagliari

Fotbalisté Hellasu Verona s českým záložníkem Antonínem Barákem remizovali v 15. kole italské ligy s Cagliari 0:0 a v neúplné tabulce jsou s 20 body dál desátí. Juventus zvítězil na ... Read more »

La Juve sorride a Salerno con i gol di Dybala e Morata

(ANSA) – ROMA, 30 NOV – Nel momento più difficile della propria stagione la Juventus ritrova il sorriso a Salerno, dove passa 0-2 grazie alle reti di Dybala e Morata. ... Read more »

Premier League trio Crystal Palace, Brentford and Watford are targeting Rangers star Joe Aribo as the midfielder enters the final 18 months of his contract with the Scottish champions

Joe Aribo is entering the final 18 months of his contract at Scottish side Rangers The midfielder has scored 21 goals in 116 appearances since joining in 2019The Nigeria international can play centrally in midfield, out wide and at left backCrystal Palace, Brentford and Watford are among the clubs interested in Aribo  Read more »

Leeds chief Angus Kinnear hits out at fan-led review of football governance by comparing recommendations to the Maoist regime in China... with comments sparking fierce reaction from Gary Neville

The fan-led review of football governance was published by MP Tracey Crouch It proposed an independent regulator and for Premier League clubs to pay a 'transfer levy' to support the football pyramid  However, Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear has taken a distasteful aim at it Mao Zedong was responsible for the Great Chinese Famine which is estimated to have killed tens of millions of people Read more »

Jurgen Klopp's message to Liverpool stars amid lingering anger at last Everton visit

There is clearly still lingering anger and resentment about the brutality of last season’s derby at Goodison. But for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, the message to his side is simple. ... Read more »

Brendan Rodgers' reaction to Ralf Rangnick's Man Utd appointment

Brendan Rodgers claimed Ralf Rangnick will bring “experience and stability” to Old Trafford as he praised Manchester United’s latest managerial appointment. Rangnick, 63, has joined the Red Devils as interim ... Read more »

Ralph Hasenhuttl insists he has never dwelt on Southampton's 9-0 mauling ahead of Leicester return

© PA Wire Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl insists he never thinks back to the 9-0 horror show against Leicester (Bradley Collyer/PA) – PA Wire Ralph Hasenhuttl has insisted he is ... Read more »

Raphinha holds nerve and grabs vital win for Leeds against Crystal Palace

Raphinha’s injury-time penalty secured a potentially priceless Premier League victory for Leeds United against Crystal Palace on a night when it looked as though their profligacy in front of goal ... Read more »

Last-gasp Raphinha penalty hands Leeds victory over Crystal Palace

© REUTERS Raphinha celebrates his winner from the penalty spot – REUTERS Raphinha’s stoppage-time penalty clinched Leeds a 1-0 home win against Crystal Palace and three much-needed Premier League points. ... Read more »

Jack Grealish deserves more credit for start to life at Man City, says Pep Guardiola

© PA Wire Jack Grealish could return to former club Aston Villa for the first time on Wednesday (Martin Rickett/PA) – PA Wire Pep Guardiola believes Jack Grealish has played ... Read more »

Minneapolis man charged with rape of minor in Inver Grove Heights group home

Nov. 30—A Minneapolis man was charged Tuesday with raping a minor at a group home in Inver Grove Heights. Abdulkadir Jama Hassan, 25, was charged in Dakota County District Court ... Read more »

Juve see off Salernitana, Atalanta close in on summit

© Carlo Hermann Alvaro Morata scored his third Serie A goal of the season at Salernitana Juventus escaped Salernitana with a hard-fought 2-0 win on Tuesday which brought some positivity ... Read more »

Author Alice Sebold apologizes to man wrongly convicted of her rape

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Best-selling author Alice Sebold on Tuesday issued a public apology to a man who was wrongfully convicted of raping her 40 years ago in an attack ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic