The Chicago Cubs agreed to a deal with free-agent pitcher Craig Kimbrel on Wednesday night. The deal is for three years and $43 million and is pending a physical. The deal includes a $1 million buyout on a club/vesting option for the fourth year.
Kimbrel had spent the last three years with the Boston Red Sox . Last year he had42 saves with a ERA of 2.74 with 96 strikeouts and 31 walks. Kimbrel has a 1.91 ERA with 868 strikeouts and 333 saves. He is a seven-time All-Star, has won a World Series title and was the 2011 National League Rookie of the Year.
The Cubs are really excited about Kimbrel joining the team. Cubs closer Pedro Strop told ESPN: He’s awesome. You’re bringing in — if he’s not the best, he’s one of the best closers in the game. Hopefully he’s in good shape so he can help us win another World Series. … He’s one of my favorites.”
Signing Kimbrel is a great move by the Cubs. Kimbrel is a good pitcher and one of the best closers in the game. He will fill a need for the Cubs, which is relief in the late innings of games. Cub relievers have blown 11 saves this season, third most in the majors. Entering Wednesday the Cubs bullpen had a 4.02 ERA and the Cubs had the highets walk rate(12.2 percent ), a strikoue-minus-walk percentage of 10.7 and the lowest swinging-strike rate (10.4 percent ) in the National League, according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
“It’s definitely a boost, just obviously when you sign Craig Kimbrel, with what he’s done, winning the World Series last year and what he’s done throughout his career is amazing,”Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo told Tim Stebbins of NBC Sports Chicago. “It’s definitely a big boost for us and just lengthens everything out once he gets here and gets settled in.We’re pumped.”
Cbus pitcher Jon Lester told Stebbins: “I think really the only thing that this move does is lengthen our bullpen,” Lester said. “Now it takes a little bit of pressure off of us as starters when we don’t have our good stuff, where we’re grinding and we’ve got to fill that hole to get to that back end, we’re able to do that probably a little bit easier than we have been.”
Lester added, “Now our bullpen gets a little bit deeper. You’re not worried about matching guys up, and ‘What about tomorrow?’ I feel like we’re able to play that game a little bit more now that we have [Kimbrel], we have [Pedro Strop] back now.” This is a huge boost for us. I hope he can get here soon and get in uniform.”
The Cubs are winnners for signing Kimbrel. They now have the depth and help they needed in the bullpen. Now they have a good shot at winning the division and posssibly winning the World Series.