According the The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs have reached an agreement to sign free agent closer Craig Kimbrel.
BREAKING: #Cubs in agreement with free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel, pending physical, sources tell The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 6, 2019
Kimbrel has been one of the best and maybe the best relief pitcher in baseball since he took over as the Braves closer in 2011. Over the past nine seasons, he has 333 saves and a 1.91 career ERA. Last season, in a “down” year, Kimbrel saved 42 games in 45 attempts and posted an ERA of 2.74. He struck out 96 batters in 62 1⁄3 innings.
Just how good has Kimbrel been over the course of his career?
Craig Kimbrel career MLB ranks— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 6, 2019
(Minimum 500 innings)
ERA+ 211 1st
K% 41.6% 1st
WHIP 0.920 2nd
Opp BA .154 1st
He's the only pitcher in MLB history with more saves (333) than hits allowed (285); minimum 2 saves
Kimbrel had remained unsigned until now as no team was willing to both meet his asking price and sacrifice a draft pick. But with the draft pick penalty now gone, the Cubs and Kimbrel were able to come to an agreement.
Terms of the contract are not yet known. This piece will be updated when more information becomes available.
UPDATE: First word on terms
Kimbrel deal with #Cubs will be three years and close to $45M, sources tell The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 6, 2019
One would assume that this year of the deal would be prorated, but we’ll find out more soon.
Heyman has more details.
Kimbrel to Cubs, 43M 3 years— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 6, 2019
That sounds like what the deal is when this season is prorated, but again, we don’t know yet.
Dep has these details in the comments, but here it is up top.
Just to be clear: The $43 million in Craig Kimbrel's deal is fully guaranteed. The $10 million he'll receive this season is not prorated. He will get $16 million in 2020 and 2021, and the extra $1 million is guaranteed via the buyout on a fourth-year option.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 6, 2019
Also, Passan is reporting that Kimbrel has looked “electric” in workout showcases and may not need much time before getting major-league ready. He reports that June 20 for Kimbrel’s debut is not unreasonable. The Cubs play the Mets at Wrigley that day.