MLB trade rumors: 3 teams that should trade for Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel

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Craig Kimbrel, Chicago Cubs. (Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports)

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Atlanta Braves

NL East

Atlanta Braves can reclaim the NL East by adding a familiar face to the bullpen

No, he will not come cheap, but if the Atlanta Braves were to trade Kimbrel, legions of Braves Country would be ecstatic. The Huntsville, Alabama native grew up in front of Atlanta’s eyes nearly a decade ago, becoming the greatest closer in franchise history. The 2011 NL Rookie of the Year made his first four trips to the All-Star Game in Atlanta uniform. Then, the awful rebuild happened.

Kimbrel was dealt to the San Diego Padres right before 2015 Opening Day, and he has been playing elsewhere ever since. While he is not the same player he was in his 20s, Kimbrel is pitching phenomenally now and would be a massive addition to a Braves bullpen that is in need of some firepower. Getting Shane Greene back will help, but Kimbrel will help offset losing Mark Melancon.

Kimbrel may want to close out games, and that could necessitate moving Newnan native Will Smith back to a setup role. Either way, trading for Kimbrel will be galvanizing for Braves Country. Atlanta is only 3.5 games back of the rival Mets in the NL East standings. The Braves have massively underachieved thus far, but they are so far from out of it. All they really need is a spark.

Trading for Kimbrel would up the ante for guys like Greene, Smith, A.J. Minter, Cody Martin and Luke Jackson to be the very best they can be. If Atlanta gets its bullpen right, the Braves might have enough to win the division and get back to the NLCS with a shot at playing in the Fall Classic. Atlanta is not a title contender now, but after adding a guy like Kimbrel, one could make the case.