The Chicago Cubs have agreed to terms of a 3-year, $45 million contract with free agent closer Craig Kimbrel. The deal comes as a shock as the Cubs just entered the market and race for Kimbrel today as rumored by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Rosenthal later confirmed that the two sides had come to an agreement on a multi-year contract. More details should follow once the club confirms the signing.
Kimbrel deal with #Cubs will be three years and close to $45M, sources tell The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 6, 2019
Both Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel held out from signing until June, eventually, teams would not sign these players until the draft began so that they would not lose any draft picks as penalization. Kimbrel was tied to the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, and Minnesota Twins until today when the Cubs emerged as a new team in the race and presumably won the race quickly by getting a deal in place.
In 2018, Kimbrel was good, scary good for the 2018 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. Kimbrel tossed 62.1 innings for the Red Sox, striking out 96 batters while closing out 42 games over the course of the season. Kimbrel was a representative for the 2018 American League All-Star team as well. Looking to be as effective as possible, Kimbrel has been reported as ready to hit the big league roster within a week or so of signing after staying active during the holdout.
The Cubs seem to have brought in Kimbrel for a few different reasons, the bullpen has not been the sturdiest amongst MLB bullpens. Another reason would be the injury list is full of pitchers including Brandon Morrow who caught on well last year as a reliever for the Cubs. Kimbrel will give the Cubs some insurance in the bullpen to lighten Pedro Strop, Steve Cishek, and Carl Edwards Jr.’s load at the backend of the bullpen.