White Sox trade Craig Kimbrel to Dodgers

Los Angeles will send outfielder AJ Pollock to the South Side.

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The White Sox traded right-hander reliever Craig Kimbrel to the Dodgers on Friday.

The White Sox traded right-hander reliever Craig Kimbrel to the Dodgers on Friday.

Bob Levey/Getty Images

GLENDALE, Ariz. — In a classic ‘‘good trade for both teams’’ Friday, the White Sox sent Craig Kimbrel to the Dodgers for AJ Pollock.

Gone is Kimbrel, 33, a decorated closer, eight-time All-Star and the active leader with 372 saves who struggled as a setup man with the Sox. Kimbrel will get a chance to close for the Dodgers.

Incoming is Pollock, 34, an accomplished outfielder who addresses a right-field situation manager Tony La Russa said this week was covered adequately from within the organization with Andrew Vaughn, Adam Engel, Gavin Sheets and Leury Garcia.

Who knows, maybe they’ll face each other in the World Series. Both teams have those aspirations, and it seemed the Sox, with that goal in mind, added actual horsepower to their strength-in-numbers setup for right field. Pollock provides the kind of depth in three outfield spots that championship-caliber teams need.

“We are thrilled to add a player of AJ Pollock’s caliber to this roster,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “We view him as making us better offensively as well as defensively and providing us with some important flexibility as we go through this season as well as some depth for whatever valleys may lie ahead for us.”

Coming off two of his best seasons, Pollock batted .297/.355/.536 with a career-high-tying 21 home runs, 27 doubles, 69 RBI, 53 runs scored and nine stolen bases in 117 games last season, his third with the Dodgers. He was a National League All-Star and Gold Glove outfielder with the Diamondbacks in 2015.

“Quality professional hitter,” Hahn said. “We all know what he’s capable of defensively. We’ve already had a handful of conversations with [La Russa] and with the coaches about how we are going to mix him in as well as continue to get Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert and Gavin Sheets and Andrew Vaughn their opportunities. It makes us better.”

Hahn had made it clear in November that Kimbrel could be had for the right deal, and while it was speculated the Sox would have to eat some of his $16 million salary, no cash was exchanged. The Sox take on Pollock’s $10 million this year with a $5 million buyout for 2023.

Pollock has played only six games in right field during his career, “but, trust me, he can play right field,” said La Russa, who knew Pollock when he was in the Diamondbacks’ front office.

La Russa spoke with Pollock on Friday morning and was hopeful he’d be in the lineup against the Diamondbacks on Saturday night.

“He had a good situation there and is very excited to come here,” La Russa said. “I knew him in Arizona, high-quality guy, healthy, can play three positions, can hit him anywhere. He runs well. He’s a good, experienced championship-type player.”

La Russa’s take on the Sox’ right-field situation came under fire on social media when he said Sox fans wanting to go outside the organization for an upgrade were “probably the fans who are not White Sox fans. White Sox fans know there are guys in this camp who can handle it.”

It was La Russa’s way of backing the players in camp, and it troubled him to think he was thought to be dismissive of fans.

“What I said was we are going to win with what we’ve got here,” La Russa said.

Now Pollock is part of that.

“He’s a good get,” La Russa said.

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