Kimbrel is coming off three-straight All-Star seasons with the Red Sox in which he saved 108 games in 119 opportunities. The yoke of draft-pick compensation was one of several factors that slowed Kimbrel's market over the winter.
Kimbrel likely won't be pitching for the Cubs for a couple of weeks, at the earliest, assuming he ends up signing in Chicago.
Major League Baseball teams opted to wait until early June to start negotiating with Kimbrel, as teams can now sign him without losing a draft pick.
Chicago's bullpen has struggled at times this year, with the team's relievers combining for a 4.02 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP in 197 innings. Incumbent closer Brandon Morrow hasn't thrown a pitch yet this season due to an elbow issue.
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Adding Kimbrel to the bullpen would be a massive upgrade for a Cubs team that's lacked a steady late-game presence in 2019.
The Cubs were in desperate need of bullpen help, having gone 12-for-23 in save chances this season. His arm is in shape and that's half the battle. It had been previous reported that Ben Zobrist's family-related stint on the restricted list could free up enough money - players are not paid while on the restricted list - to sign Kimbrel, and that seems to be exactly what happened.
The Cubs are now 33-26 and in first place in the NL Central.
The Cubs pursuit of free agent closer Craig Kimbrel is real.
Kimbrel - who never has had fewer than 31 saves since 2011, his second season - has 333 career saves.