Huntsville native Craig Kimbrel reached a three-year deal worth close to $45 million with the Cubs, pending a physical, sources told The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel have been the top free agents still available after failing to sign deals this offseason.
Kimbrel, who had 42 saves for the World Series champion Red Sox last season, had reportedly been seeking a multi-year deal. The Cubs have 11 blown saves this season but just got closer Pedro Strop off the injured list after he missed a month with a hamstring strain. But even though that’s the case, the Cubs apparently wanted to boost their bullpen.
Kimbrel — who never has had fewer than 31 saves since 2011, his second season — has 333 career saves. The Cubs’ interest, according to The Athletic, had increased with the absence of Ben Zobrist. The Cubs’ veteran has been on the restricted list since May 8 as he deals with his divorce. The Cubs are prepared for him to miss the remainder of the season.
If it turns out that Zobrist is out for the season, it likely would give the Cubs $9 million more to spend as players are not usually compensated while on the restricted list. Zobrist is in the final year of a four-year, $56 million deal.
As for Keuchel, he remains on the market and has been on the Yankees’ radar.