Chicago Cubs: Five things to watch this spring training

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Chicago Cubs
Craig Kimbrel, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: First spring training for Craig Kimbrel since 2018 gives him the benefit of the doubt for now

One thing is sure; the Cubs bullpen needs to be MUCH more effective than it was in 2019. When the Cubs inked Craig Kimbrel mid-season, there was a massive sigh of relief among the fans. Unfortunately, the seven-time All Star’s first tenure as a North Sider was a disaster riddled with blown saves and injuries. In case you forgot…6.53 ERA, 1.6 WHIP and three blown saves in 23 games.

Kimbrel did not have a spring training or typical workouts until he became a Cub. Now he will have all of that as he looks to return to form. He has been so good for so long, seeing him struggle so severely was tough to see, but for now, he gets the benefit of the doubt. This spring training, we will look for him to be both healthy and throwing upper-90s. Last season his velocity went up and down like a roller coaster.

Kimbrel is such an essential piece to not only the bullpen but the team itself. This bullpen has as much potential to be useful as it does to be a complete disaster. Whether or not Kimbrel returns to form (or close enough to it) will make a massive difference. His preparation protocol will be a bit different, but whatever it takes to regain form.