Chicago Cubs: Five players who would benefit from a mulligan

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

Chicago Cubs: Craig Kimbrel

We’ll conclude this list with one player who – assuming we get to start playing baseball again this year – will have a chance to redeem himself in Craig Kimbrel. Until last year, Kimbrel was one of the most dominant closers of his era. He’s led the league in saves four times, currently at 346 for his career, while he boasts a ridiculous career ERA of 2.08.

Kimbrel was a free agent during the 2018-2019 offseason, and he was unable to get a deal until June 7, 2019, when he signed a three-year deal worth $43 million. It seemed like a ton of money for a relief pitcher, but he was expected to be a big difference-maker on what appeared to be a good team that just needed some relief help.

Whether due to the layoff or to some other reason, Kimbrel’s first season with the North Siders was a disaster. In just 20 2/3 innings, he gave up 15 earned runs – including a staggering nine home runs. He took the loss in two of the four games that the Cubs lost at home to the St. Louis Cardinals late in the year, which put the final nail in the coffin of the Cubs’ 2019 season.

Next. Ranking the best closers of the past 25 years. dark

I’m sure that Kimbrel – and Cubs fans everywhere – would love it if Kimbrel could start over. However, as mentioned above, the good news is that there is still time for him to turn it around. Understandably, there is skepticism that he can return to his once-dominant form after such a disaster of a 2019 season. For the Cubs to have any chance to contend in 2020 (whatever the season looks like), they’ll need Kimbrel to be the stopper we were expecting.