CHICAGO – Since the start of the season, when the health of Brandon Morrow has made his availability to take the field for the team at all a question mark, many wondered if Boston’s closer from 2018 might make his way to Chicago.
Craig Kimbrel didn’t sign anywhere in the offseason and remains ready to sign with a team if they can get him at the right price.
Now with June 1st past, and the obligation of giving up a draft pick now gone, it appears the Cubs are very close to acquiring a veteran closer.
BREAKING: #Cubs in agreement with free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel, pending physical, sources tell The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 6, 2019
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Cubs have an agreement with Kimbrel, pending a physical. The team has yet to confirm the move.
Right now Pedro Strop has the closer’s role for the Cubs, having saved five of his seven chances on the season, including his first since coming off the injured list on Tuesday against the Rockies.
Kimbrel is coming off three-straight All-Star seasons with the Red Sox in which he saved 108 games in 119 opportunities. In 2018, he was 42-of-47 on save attempts during the regular season, though his ERA went up from 1.43 in 2017 to 2.74. In the playoffs he allowed five runs during six save opportunities, but left every one of those a victory.
One of the possibilities to free up money to sign the closer could come from the $12.5 million dollars owed to utility player Ben Zobrist. He remains out of the lineup on personal leave in which he’s not being paid, meaning the Cubs could use that money to sign Kimbrel.
But so far there has been little clarity on whether Zobrist will return to the team, so there is still plenty of mystery when it comes to the Cubs’ potential signing of the closer.