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.

Dee Gordon placed on injured list due to quad strain

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The Mariners announced on Tuesday that second baseman Dee Gordon has been placed on the 10-day injured list due to a strained left quad. Infielder Tim Lopes was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma and pitcher Parker Markel was designated for assignment.

Gordon, 31, apparently suffered the injury diving back into first base during Monday’s game against the Rangers. The speedster is batting .280/.306/.367 with 14 extra-base hits, 27 RBI, 26 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 284 plate appearances.

Lopes, 25, will provide infield depth for the Mariners while Gordon is on the mend. At Tacoma, Lopes hit .302/.362/.480 with 10 home runs, 60 RBI, 58 runs scored, and 24 stolen bases in 403 PA.

Gordon’s injury comes at a bad time for the Mariners with the July 31 trade deadline on the horizon. He is under contract for 2020 at $13.5 million and has a 2021 club option worth $14 million with a $1 million buyout. A contending team might have traded for Gordon. Now the Mariners will have to wait until the offseason to explore that possibility.