The White Sox will send relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel to the Dodgers in exchange for outfielder AJ Pollock.
After struggling in the second half of 2021 in a setup role, Kimbrel had talked with White Sox general manager Rick Hahn and vice president Ken Williams about his place with the team. And Hahn — who never says he might trade somebody — publicly said in November that exploring a trade for the closer with 372 career saves was a possibility.
Hahn pulled the trigger Friday morning.
Kimbrel struggled in his first spring training outing. He struck out the first batter he faced, then had issues with command and allowed two walks and two hits in his first game.
Liam Hendriks is established as the Sox’ closer, and the club brought in right-handed relievers Kendall Graveman and Joe Kelly.
The White Sox acquired Kimbrel from the Cubs last year for second baseman Nick Madrigal and right-hander Codi Heuer.
Kimbrel, 33, posted a 5.09 ERA in 23 games with the White Sox, working the eighth inningin 17 of the 23 games.
Now, with the Dodgers moving on from longtime closer Kenley Jansen, the ninth inning once again figures to be Kimbrel’s.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had resisted naming a closer, noting only that reliever Blake Treinen likely remained their best option, albeit one better suited to record the game’s most important outs regardless of inning. Now, the Dodgers have a definite ninth-inning guy.
Pollock, 34, hit .297 with 21 homers and 69 for the Dodgers last year. He is a career .281 hitter.
Contributing: USA TODAY Sports
This story will be updated.