Chicago Cubs: Team needs to sign Craig Kimbrel now

Chicago Cubs (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs will be without Pedro Strop for several weeks due to a hamstring injury. The team should make a move to get closer Craig Kimbrel signed.

The Chicago Cubs have taken another blow to their bullpen that was already without true closer Brandon Morrow, who had a setback and has been shut-down for an unknown period of time. Who knows what his timeline is, but now the team will be without interim closer Pedro Strop for quite some time.

Strop suffered a hamstring injury against the Diamondbacks but tried to pitch through it anyways. He had been receiving treatment but aggravated it on Monday in his appearance against the Marlins. Strop hopes to return from the injury in a month’s time but this leaves the Cubs with some uncertainty in who will close out games until then.

Given Strop’s recent troubles with hamstring injuries, who knows how he returns from it as well. The bullpen has blown saves in two of the last three games, both against the Marlins. They managed to still win on Wednesday evening, but against better competition it could have very well been two losses.

With the National League Central Division figuring to be a three-team race with the Brewers and Cardinals, the Cubs should be actively trying to sign former Red Sox closer, Craig Kimbrel. He was originally asking for a deal that exceeed what former Cubs closer, Wade Davis got with the Rockies.

Since then, he has lowered his asking price to a three-year deal between $40-$50 million. That was back in mid-April and here we are approaching mid-May already. Kimbrel will likely need a month to get ready for the season, so the Cubs would not have him available until mid-June or early July.

Now the one downfall with signing Kimbrel right now is that the Cubs would be forced to give the Red Sox a compensatory draft pick in June’s draft. If he signs after the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, no draft pick would be included.

Kimbrel, 30, has pitched nine seasons in the Major Leagues and has collected 333 career saves to go along with an absurd 1.91 ERA.

The Cubs cannot have a closer by committee situation. At one point in Wednesday’s game, the team had already used Kyle Ryan, Steve Cishek was in the game, and had both Tyler Chatwood and Carl Edwards, Jr. warming. If you need potentially four relievers to close out a ninth inning, then you have a major problem on your hands.

Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein has maintained that he is content with the bullpen as is, but as previously noted they have blown saves in two of the last three games. Signing Kimbrel would provide some stability in the bullpen and with him missing almost half of this season, he would have to lower his asking price again.

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The Cubs could potentialy get him signed to a three-year contract worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 million total. Forfeit the compensatory pick and fix the bullpen.