Report: Cubs to sign Craig Kimbrel to three-year, $43 million deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Cubs have signed free agent reliever Craig Kimbrel to a multi-year deal. Jon Heyman reports that the deal is for $43 million over three years. Kimbrel finally signed because he no longer had draft pick compensation attached to him once the 2019 MLB Draft began.

Kimbrel, 31, finally has a new uniform after spending a whopping seven months in free agency. The right-hander, arguably among the greatest closers of all-time, famously struggled early in the postseason last year, yielding runs in each of his first four appearances against the Yankees and Astros. However, during the regular season, Kimbrel accrued 42 saves with a 2.74 ERA and a 96/31 K/BB ratio across 62 1/3 innings.

The Cubs’ bullpen didn’t feature a big-name closer, but the aggregate bullpen of 4.02 entering Wednesday’s action ranked eighth among all 30 MLB teams. Steve Cishek and Pedro Strop will presumably work behind Kimbrel once he’s ready.

It is not known exactly how long Kimbrel will need to get ready. Presumably, he would need a week or two of building himself up in the minors.

Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season

Kopech has opted out
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Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.

The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”

Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.

Now, however, Kopech has opted out.