Chicago Cubs: Who needs to shine during the shortened season?

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs /

Can this Chicago Cubs closer return to elite form? Let us hope.

Fans pleaded for Chicago’s front-office to sign Craig Kimbrel as they witnessed this bullpen go from bad to worse. Finally, on June 6, Kimbrel inked a three-year, $43 million contract, giving the Cubs another elite closer since Aroldis Chapman in 2016.

Only it didn’t necessarily end the way fans had hoped. Yes, Kimbrel missed a good chunk of the season, including spring training, so there was some rust. On a shortened season of his own, Kimbrel posted an ERA of 6.53 (career-worst) in 23 appearances for the Cubs.

The two-time Reliever of the Year recipient and seven-time All-Star had one other season in which his earned run average was above three. Something Cubs fans should keep in mind as the team gears up for the shortest season since 1878.

Next. Caratini has high value in 2020. dark

Over the years, Kimbrel has proven that he is the real deal when it comes to closing games, recording 346 of 383 save opportunities. As a member of the Red Sox, the 32-year-old racked up 110 saves, winning a World Series title in the process.

His postseason stat-line? A 3.92 ERA with seven saves in as many opportunities. Six of the seven coming in his final postseason run with Boston. If he is capable of shrugging 2019, then this organization will be difficult to beat in 2020.