White Sox pick up Craig Kimbrel’s $16 million option

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
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CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox have exercised their $16 million club option for reliever Craig Kimbrel and declined their option on infielder Cesar Hernandez.

The 33-year-old Kimbrel struggled after he was acquired in a July trade with the crosstown Cubs for infielder Nick Madrigal and reliever Codi Heuer.

Kimbrel had a sparkling 0.49 ERA and 23 saves in 39 games with the Cubs, making the NL All-Star team. But the White Sox used the right-hander in a setup role in front of All-Star closer Liam Hendriks, and Kimbrel had a 5.09 ERA in 24 games for the AL Central champions.

With Hendriks expected to return, the White Sox could look to move Kimbrel to a team in need of a closer. The eight-time All-Star has 372 saves and a 2.18 ERA over 12 years in the majors.

Hernandez’s option was worth $6 million. There was no buyout attached to his deal.

The 31-year-old Hernandez was acquired in a July trade with Cleveland. Hernandez, a 2020 Gold Glove winner at second base, batted .232 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 53 games with Chicago.

With Madrigal now on the North Side of Chicago, the White Sox could add a second baseman over the winter. They also could make a move for a shortstop or third baseman, and then move Tim Anderson or Yoan Moncada to second.

Report: Guardians, 1B Josh Bell reach 2-year, $33M deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — The Cleveland Guardians and slugging first baseman Josh Bell have agreed to a two-year, $33 million contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a review of medical records.

Bell played for Washington and San Diego last season, batting .266 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 156 games.

Cleveland is coming off a surprising 2022 season, going 92-70 and winning the AL Central for the first time since 2018. The addition of Bell gives the Guardians more power for their lineup after they hit just 127 homers this year – the second-lowest total in the majors.

The 30-year-old Bell is a .262 hitter with 130 homers and 468 RBIs over seven seasons with three big league teams. He had his best year with Pittsburgh in 2019, making the NL All-Star team while batting .277 with 37 homers and 116 RBIs in 143 games.

The switch-hitting Bell also is expected to benefit from restrictions on defensive positioning coming to the game next year.