2021 MLB trade deadline: Rumors, live updates for Kris Bryant, Trevor Story, Craig Kimbrel, Kyle Gibson, more


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With the White Sox having added Craig Kimbrel, they now have two of the best closers in baseball, including incumbent closer Liam Hendriks. 

Kimbrel is 23 for 25 in save chances with a 0.49 ERA, 1.08 FIP, 0.71 WHIP and 64 strikeouts against 13 walks in 36 2/3 inning this season. After a bumpy start to his Cubs' career, he's re-established himself as an elite-level closer. 

Hendriks is there as well. He's 25 for 30 in save chances with a 2.58 ERA, 2.71 FIP, 0.73 WHIP and 71 strikeouts against just four unintentional walks in 45 1/3 innings. 

Kimbrel is having the better year, statistically, but the White Sox have an eight-game lead in the AL Central. Do they mess with having Hendriks as their ninth-inning guy? Early reports indicate the plan is to use both in closing roles. Flexibility is good, but Tony La Russa is a manager ingrained in his ways and has long preferred just one closer. Hendriks has thrived before in a setup role while Kimbrel has basically only been a closer. 

Assuming Hendriks is OK with the role change, and he likely would be, it seems as though the smart move would be to just install Kimbrel as the closer and use Hendriks in either a fireman role -- he's fine to go multiple innings -- or as the eighth-inning guy. 

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The Blue Jays needed another pitcher and they got their guy in Jose Berrios! Should you be worried about his value in Toronto? The Twins received a great prospect haul in Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson. The Braves also made a few smaller moves acquiring both Eddie Rosario and Adam Duvall.

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The Cubs have traded All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel to the White Sox. Details are still emerging. Full story here.

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Veteran right-hander Ian Kennedy had been a rotation presence for the vast majority of his career, but as a member of the Royals in 2019 he converted into a high-leverage reliever. The results have been strong. Kennedy's velocity played up in a relief role, and he enjoyed improved command, as well. This season, Kennedy at age 36 significantly ramped up his fastball usage, and the results have been impressive: 2.51 ERA with 35 strikeouts and just five unintentional walks in 32 ⅓ innings as the Rangers' closer. 

Capable closers are always in high demand around deadline time, and indeed Jon Heyman reports that the Phillies and Brewers are among the multiple teams kicking the tires on Kennedy, who's in his walk year. Consider Kennedy to be a pretty nifty consolation prize for teams unable to land Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel, who's the best late-inning reliever on the trade market right now.

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Milwaukee has notably added infielder Eduardo Escobar to the fold this deadline season, and now they've landed some relief help. Jason Beck of MLB.com was the first to report that the Brewers were in talks with the Tigers to acquire 28-year-old left-hander Daniel Norris, and now multiple outlets are reporting the deal as done. 

Norris, a starter for much of his career, has been a primary reliever since the start of the abbreviated 2020 season. He's made 38 relief appearances for the Tigers this season and put up a 5.89 ERA and 2.67 K/BB ratio over that span. While the Milwaukee bullpen has been solid this season, depth is a bit of a concern moving forward. Despite the poor results for Norris thus far in 2021, he addresses that need. He's owed the balance of a $3.475 million salary for 2021 and is eligible for free agency this coming winter. 

Beck further reports that right-hander Reese Olson appears to be going back to Detroit in the swap. A former 13th-rounder who soon turns 22, Olson owns a 4.55 ERA and 1.97 K/BB ratio across parts of three minor league seasons. He's been a starter in High-A this year.

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The Cubs are one of the biggest sellers and the biggest names are Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel. Beyond them, though, Zach Davies is a back-end starter who hits free agency after the year. Javier Bàez is also headed to free agency and could be had. Several more bullpen arms could be available, too. That brings us to this looming possibility: 

Might we see a three-team blockbuster with three All-Stars departing one team? It seems unlikely, but there's legitimate buzz. 

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We mentioned earlier the report that connected the Rays and Cubs regarding a possible deal that would include both Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel. Well, on the Kimbrel front, the Rays are far from alone in pursuit of the stellar closer. The Dodgers continue to be mentioned as suitors. A reunion with the Braves is possible, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com. NBC Chicago's David Kaplan now says the White Sox are involved, which would give them a ridiculous back-end duo of Kimbrel and Liam Hendriks. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic handicaps the field as Dodgers "kicking around but unlikely," Braves "unlikely," Rays "involved," and Astros "still looking for bullpen help." 

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Make sure you listen to Nothing Personal with David Samson, who examined the Los Angeles Dodgers pulling off the ultimate rope-a-dope against the San Diego Padres. It was reported the Padres had a deal to acquire Max Scherzer and then BOOM! the Dodgers came in and stole it. How did this happen? How did the Dodgers get Scherzer and Trea Turner? Samson breaks it all down below:

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The Braves just acquired two outfielders, in Eddie Rosario (currently injured) and Adam Duvall, without giving up much in return. Pablo Sandoval will head to Cleveland while Alex Jackson relocates to Miami. 

Add in the Braves' activity earlier this month, trading for Joc Pederson and Stephen Vogt, and they're basically just lapping up cheap/free downmarket talent. None of those moves are going to replace Ronald Acuña Jr., but collectively they make the Braves a better team.

Given how the rest of the National League East has treated this deadline (the only transaction the Mets can seem to complete is bellyaching to beats), that might be enough to keep the Braves in the race. And who knows, weird things happen in this sport all the time. 

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The Rays are discussing a possible deal with the Cubs for 3B/OF Kris Bryant and closer Craig Kimbrel, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Though there's no indication this is close to the finish line, a swap here would make all kinds of sense for both sides. The Rays traded late-inning reliever Diego Castillo on Thursday and have a small village of relievers on the injured list, including Pete Fairbanks. Kimbrel gives them an easy ninth-inning guy while making the rest of their relief corps available in flexible roles. Speaking of flexibility, the Rays would surely take great advantage of Bryant's ability to play almost anywhere on the diamond. So while third base isn't a gaping hole for the Rays, Bryant would still be a valuable addition to both the offense and defense. 

As for the Cubs, the end of the 2016 World Series core is upon us with Anthony Rizzo already traded and Bryant facing free agency this upcoming offseason. Dealing him with the incredibly valuable Kimbrel right now to restock the farm system makes sense. 

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The Phillies missed out on Tyler Anderson earlier this week and now they're making a push for Rangers righty Kyle Gibson.

Gibson allowed five runs and got one out on Opening Day, then pitched to a 1.51 ERA in his next 15 starts, and has now allowed 16 runs in 17 1/3 innings in his last three starts. He is owed a mere $7 million next season, so he's very affordable and he's not a rental, two things that surely appeal to the Phillies.

On paper though, Gibson is a poor fit for the Phillies. Or, more accurately, the Phillies are a poor fit for Gibson. He's a ground ball guy and Philadelphia is one of the worst defensive teams in baseball. They rank 29th in baseball with minus-33 defensive runs saved and 26th in baseball with a .680 defensive efficiency (meaning they turn 68 percent of balls in play in outs). Gibson needs a strong defense to have success and the Phillies won't provide him with that.

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Our SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh breaks down the big José Berrios trade:

The Blue Jays made a big move before the deadline acquiring José Berrios from the Twins. Berrios is not just a one-year rental, as he has another year left on his contract. The Blue Jays are 4.5 games out of a wild-card spot, but we now have them making the playoffs in 30.9% of sims compared to 25.4% before the trade. The Blue Jays have a +98 run differential this season, and the addition of Berrios gives them a relatively strong rotation --- at least compared to what they've had in recent years. Ryu, Berrios, Ray, and Manoah along with their bats makes the Jays dangerous if they are to sneak into the playoffs.    

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Make sure you listen to Nothing Personal with David Samson, who breaks down Anthony Rizzo's time in Chicago being done, and whether Rizzo headed to the New York Yankees (along with Joey Gallo) is enough to save their season.

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The Minnesota Twins kept their reported promised and have traded two-time All-Star José Berrios prior to the deadline today. Berrios, who our Mike Axisa labeled as a rock-solid No. 2 starter and is under control until the end of next season, is headed to the Toronto Blue Jays, who get their pitching in exchange for a massive haul, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan

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Trade details:

 Minnesota gets: 

• SS/CF Austin Martin
• RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson

Toronto gets:

• RHP José Berrios

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