Chicago Cubs: Signed Kimbrel to shore up late-inning relief
First, back in June after the draft, they signed Craig Kimbrel. After he no longer had a draft pick attached to him, it was open season on the closer. The Cubs won the battle and had their closer–which they were in dire need. With Brandon Morrow on the IL with no timetable for return and Pedro Strop struggling, Kimbrel was the obvious choice.
Keep in mind; he’s essentially still in spring training, but against MLB hitters. This is why the numbers you see him posting are not typical Kimbrel numbers. He has saved 8-of-10, and that’s a better percentage than what the ‘closer by committee’ was averaging. He’s only going to get better as the season goes on, and he should be fresh since he has only been pitching since early-June.
When the Cubs knew they were going to have to place Willson Contreras on the 10-day IL, they weren’t interested in bringing up Taylor Davis. So they traded Mike Montgomery for Martin Maldonado from the Kansas City Royals.
The trade served a dual purpose. It gave the Cubs a solid backup catcher, but also it was in respect to Montgomery. First, the Cubs weren’t utilizing him properly. And at the start of the season, he had asked to be traded to somewhere that he’d have a chance to be a starter.
With Homer Bailey just recently traded to the Oakland A’s, Montgomery would have his shot in Kansas City. And later on in July, the Cubs would flip Maldonado for another player–after playing in just four games for the Cubs. And four hitless games, as well.