The acquisition of Kimbrel almost two months before the trade deadline stressed the importance of beating the competition for the prime reliever in a shallow market. A $1 million buyout on a club/vesting option is included on the fourth year of the contract.
Kimbrel saved 42 games for the Red Sox past year, posting a 2.74 ERA while being named an All-Star for the seventh time in eight seasons.
The veteran closer reached a three-year deal worth $43 million with the Cubs, according to multiple reports. However, he had a 5.91 ERA in nine postseason appearances previous year, although Kimbrel did have six saves as the Red Sox won the World Series.
Since Brandon Morrow suffered an elbow injury midway through last season, the Cubs have piecemealed the back end of their bullpen.
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Kimbrel - who never has had fewer than 31 saves since 2011, his second season - has 333 career saves.
The Cubs are showing interest in Kimbrel, according to major-league sources. The Cubs will not surrender a pick to sign him and the Red Sox will not receive a pick for losing him.
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. Chicago had too tight of a budget to pursue Kimbrel over the winter but has gained some financial flexibility with Ben Zobrist (who is making $12.5 million) having been away from the team since May 8 while dealing with a complicated divorce.
Kimbrel was arguably the top relief pitcher on the free agency market this offseason, though he didn't get close to the deal he was looking for ahead of the regular season.