All-Star Closer Craig Kimbrel Signs a 3-Year, $43 Million Deal with Cubs

Craig Kimbrel with the Red Sox. Photo by Chris Brown/CSM/Shutterstock

After staying in free agency for seven months, Craig Kimbrel finally found a job in MLB. According to The Athletic, Kimbrel has agreed to a three-year contract with Chicago Cubs.

MLB Network reports that Kimbrel’s deal is worth $43 million, with the All-Star closer set to earn $10 million in 2019 and 2020 and $16 million in 2021. The contract also has a club/vesting option for the fourth year with a $1 million buyout.

Tampa Bay Rays also expressed interest in Kimbrel, but their offer wasn’t financially strong as the one from the Cubs. Rays reportedly gave the 31-year-old to choose between two years, $31 million, and three years, $39 million offers.

While Chicago is still to officially confirm their newest acquisition, Cubs players already expressed their excitement about Kimbrel’s arrival.

“It’s like getting a gift on Christmas morning and having to wait to open it for a week or so before he’s here,” – said pitcher Jon Lester.

“He’s awesome. You’re bringing in–if he’s not the best, he’s one of the best closers in the game,” – added reliever Pedro Strop. “Hopefully he’s in good shape so he can help us win another World Series. … He’s one of my favorites.”

Craig Kimbrel spent the last three years with the Boston Red Sox, who offer him a one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer to keep him for 2019. Kimbrel turned it down and headed to the free agency where he rejected several teams while waiting for the right offer.

Kimbrel’s MLB stats include 31-19 record, 1.91 ERA, 868 strikeouts and 333 saves. He made the All-Star seven times and has one World Series championship.