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Craig Kimbrel an option for Red Sox at MLB trade deadline? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs are two teams heading in opposite directions with less than a month before the 2021 MLB trade deadline on July 30.

The Cubs have lost 11 consecutive games — the longest active losing streak in the league — and sit nine games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the National League Central.

It doesn’t look like the Cubs will compete for a playoff spot in 2021, which could make them an intriguing seller at the trade deadline.

Bloom sheds light on Red Sox’ trade deadline strategy

One of the buyers at the trade deadline should be the Boston Red Sox. They sit atop the American League East, four games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays. Boston is 8-2 in its last 10 games. 

One player the Cubs could dangle on the trade market is reliever Craig Kimbrel, who has reignited his career in Chicago this year.

In fact, he might be one of the most talked about players leading into the July 30 deadline. ESPN’s Buster Olney shared some interesting information in the following tweet:

Kimbrel has posted a 0.59 ERA, a 0.65 WHIP, 53 strikeouts and 10 walks over 30 2/3 innings this season. His 20 saves are tied for the fourth-most in the league. 

Should the Red Sox pursue a reunion Kimbrel? The short answer is no.

For starters, bullpen help is not the team’s primary need right now. The Red Sox actually have an elite bullpen already. There are other teams, including the Giants, Padres and Braves, who need Kimbrel more than the Red Sox. Getting another quality starting pitcher should be Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom’s focus before the trade deadline, even if Chris Sale comes back from his rehab with no issues.

Kimbrel also doesn’t have a great postseason track record. His 2018 run was quite a rollercoaster, as he finished with a 5.90 ERA and eight walks in 10 2/3 innings.

Kimbrel coming back to Boston would be entertaining, but if the Red Sox are going to give up valuable prospects and/or take on salary to make a trade deadline move, he shouldn’t be at the top of the list.