(670 The Score) As the White Sox look to bolster their bullpen with hopes of making a World Series run, they have a close eye on the other side of town as the trade deadline looms Friday.
The White Sox continue to scout the trade chips in the Cubs’ bullpen, most notably All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel and reliever Ryan Tepera, sources said.
Kimbrel is the most sought-after reliever on the trade market, so there’s plenty of competition for his services. At least seven clubs have shown serious interest in Kimbrel, including the Red Sox, sources said.
Kimbrel, 33, is having a dominant season, with a 0.49 ERA and 0.71 WHIP in 39 appearances. He’s owed a little more than $5 million for the rest of 2021, and his deal includes a $16-million club option for 2022.
Trading for Kimbrel would come at a significant cost for the White Sox, but it would give them the best one-two punch in MLB in the back end of the bullpen as they already have All-Star closer Liam Hendriks.
“No one would touch Hendriks and Kimbrel in the eighth and ninth,” a National League scout said. “You could just ask your starters to go five and watch the bullpen with those power arms eat up the rest of the game in the playoffs.”
Tepera, 33, has a 2.91 ERA and 0.79 WHIP in 43 appearances. He would be a two-month rental and wouldn’t cost as much, so numerous teams have also inquired about him.
The Cubs want to add pitching, and right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, right-hander Jonathan Stiever and right-hander Jimmy Lambert are among those in the White Sox’s system who would be candidates to be moved in a trade for Tepera. The price for Kimbrel would clearly be much higher.
Lopez, 27, could use a fresh start somewhere else. He had a solid 2018 season with a 3.91 ERA in 188 2/3 innings but has struggled since and isn’t in the White Sox’s long-term rotation plans any longer.
One key member of the Cubs' bullpen has already been dealt, as Chicago sent lefty reliever Andrew Chafin to Oakland on Monday night in exchange for two prospects.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.