A man once hailed as a savior of a scuffling bullpen could prove to be valuable to the team in other ways before this summer’s trade deadline.
When Craig Kimbrel signed a three-year deal in 2019, it was a highly-praised move that made all the sense in the world at the time. To that point, the team’s most glaring need was clear: a lockdown ninth-inning guy.
The closer at the time was an unreliable Brandon Morrow, and with Chicago potentially just “one move away,” Theo Epstein decided to make a splash and grab a potential Hall of Fame closer to try and put the Cubs over the top.
Fast forward two tumultuous years for not only Craig Kimbrel, but the entire Cubs organization, and it’s clear the move didn’t work as intended. The new front office is heading in the complete opposite direction from where they were in 2019, with the departures of many key pieces of the 2016 team being allowed allowed to walk in free agency, including Jon Lester and Kyle Schwarber. That’s not to mention those being floated in trade rumors such as Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras.