Sure, it’s early. But, the Chicago Cubs have a decision to make on Craig Kimbrel.
Four games into the shortened 2020 MLB season, the Chicago Cubs are 3-1 and have had several positives to be happy about. Starting out the year with such a dominant performance from Kyle Hendricks had the Cubs feeling as though they won’t lose with their ace on the mound.
Seeing Tyler Chatwood come out as a pleasant surprise in Game 3 of the opening series vs. the Milwaukee Brewers was more than any fans could have asked for. In between the two victories against the Brewers, Yu Darvish struggled a bit and the Cubs bullpen went on to surrender even more in the loss.
But, Game 4 of this young season saw the Cubs travel to Cincinnati and take on the Reds in a game that would be quite the tale of two halves.
Jon Lester started the game and gave the Cubs five strong innings, striking out just one batter but not allowing a single hit. Going into the bottom of the sixth inning, Chicago led by a score of 7-0 and looked like they were about to run away with this one.
However, just as many Cubs fans had feared before the season began, the bullpen once again showed themselves as the Achilles heel. Cincinnati scored five runs between the sixth, seventh and eighth innings and Chicago added one more to make it 8-5 going into the bottom of the ninth.
Enter: Craig Kimbrel.
The Cubs closer proceeded to walk four batters while hitting one, and the Reds scored two runs without even tallying a single hit. The bases were loaded when Kimbrel hit Freddy Galvis, forcing in a run. He followed that up by walking Tyler Stephenson which forced another one in.
Chicago has a handful of problems when it comes to their bullpen, but the fact of the matter is, Kimbrel has been downright putrid as a Cub. Nothing has changed since seeing him take the mound in 2019, except for that clean shaven face of his.
Kimbrel is a shell of his former self and is no where near the pitcher the Cubs thought they were going to get. Even if they weren’t getting a former Cy Young candidate, the Cubs thought they were getting enough of a closer to sit pretty going forward.
The season is only four games old, but with just 60 total games before postseason play, the Cubs have to act much quicker than they would if this was the month of May. The bottom line is, Chicago needs to try and deal Kimbrel based on his name alone and see if they can get some sort of prospect(s) in return.
At this stage, trying just about any other option instead couldn’t hurt as much as what we saw from Kimbrel last night. It’s time to move on — period. There is no time to mess around. Get Kimbrel out of Chicago, and fast.