WATCH: Craig Kimbrel's introductory press conference
|Friday, June 7, 2019, 2:57 PM- -|
Closer Craig Kimbrel officially became a member of the Chicago Cubs on Friday, joining the club after signing a three-year deal worth $42 million, meaning that Kimbrel is on board with the Cubs through the 2021 season. Holding his introductory press conference alongside Theo Epstein, the Cubs' president of baseball operations, Kimbrel expressed his happiness at joining the Cubs organization.
Kimbrel held out for a lengthy free agency because he was waiting on a lucrative multi-year offer from a competitive team, making the Cubs' offer exactly what he was looking for. Coming from a winning club in the Boston Red Sox, a team that won the World Series with Kimbrel serving as its closer last season, Kimbrel told the press in attendance that he was swayed by the Cubs' commitment to winning and the passionate Cubs fanbase when he opted to join the Cubs.
During the press conference, Kimbrel, who was immediately optioned to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs after signing, revealed that he is fully healthy and conditioned and ready to start pitching again. Epstein discussed what Kimbrel's preparation for taking part in big-league action will be. The 31-year-old closer will go through a condensed spring training and will then tackle a rehab assignment in the minors before toeing the rubber for the North Siders. There is a chance, though, that Kimbrel could find himself on the Cubs' active roster within the next two weeks, but there is no guarantee at this point.
Indicative of the excitement in and around Wrigley Field over Kimbrel joining the Cubs' bullpen, Epstein and the Cubs' coaches and players slow-clapped Kimbrel as he walked into the locker room to address the team for the first time prior to his media session. Eventually, during the course of the formal press conference, Epstein slipped a No. 24 Cubs jersey onto Kimbrel, making it symbolically official that Kimbrel is a Cubbie.
It’s official. pic.twitter.com/AgBYNLbiBs— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 7, 2019