The Chicago White Sox announced they have exercised their club option on star closer Craig Kimbrel. He will now earn $16 million in 2022.
The #WhiteSox have exercised the $16-million club option on the contract of eight-time All-Star right-handed pitcher Craig Kimbrel for the 2022 season and have declined the $6-million club option on infielder César Hernández for 2022 (no buyout).— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) November 6, 2021
Dealt from the Cubs to the White Sox at the trade deadline, Kimbrel was lights-out in 2021. The 12-year MLB veteran finished the year with a 2.43 FIP, 2.2 fWAR, 15.08 K/9, and .243 BABIP this past season. He also notched 24 saves despite playing alongside fellow star closer Liam Hendriks during the second half of the year.
Chicago now has both Kimbrel and Hendriks to lock down the back end of its bullpen next season. However, there has been some speculation on the Twitterverse that Kimbrel’s return to the White Sox could be short-lived. It’s not outside the realm of possibilities that Chicago trades one of its closers (probably Kimbrel) to build up depth elsewhere on the roster. There has been no indication that a move like this is even in the works, but the logic behind it makes some sense.
Regardless of what the White Sox’s roster looks like when they take the field next season, it is evident that they are one of the most powerful teams in all of MLB. Despite failing to win a series in the postseason, Chicago did finish the year atop the AL Central with a 93-69 record.