WATCH: Cubs players react to Craig Kimbrel news
|Thursday, June 6, 2019, 1:53 AM- -|
Not long after the Chicago Cubs-Colorado Rockies game commenced on Wednesday evening, the Cubs agreed to a deal with star free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel, thereby validating several weeks worth of speculation regarding the Cubs' interest in Kimbrel. A seven-time All-Star and four-time saves leader, the 31-year-old Kimbrel is arguably MLB's best active reliever and will certainly bolster the Cubs' bullpen.
Following the Cubs' 9-8 win over the Rockies, multiple Cubs players fielded questions from the media regarding the news of Kimbrel agreeing to join the team, and David Bote revealed that the team found out about it in the dugout during the second inning. The hilarious Anthony Rizzo, on the other hand, jokingly told reporters that he had a connection who broke the news to him well in advance.
"I had a source before the game," Rizzo said, inciting laughter from the nearby media members. "I really wanted to beat you all to it."
Rizzo on Kimbrel signing pic.twitter.com/CTwVW02tbk— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) June 6, 2019
Reliever Carl Edwards Jr. was also asked to comment on the impending Kimbrel signing, and he was elated to have the lockdown closer set to join him in the Cubs' bullpen. While the Cubs have used a closer by committee for a large portion of this season because of injuries to back-end pitchers, Kimbrel will become the Cubs' full-time closer.
"He's the next big guy," Edwards said of Kimbrel getting added to the already stacked Cubs roster. "I can talk all day about him, to be honest. I'm actually really happy. I'm just going to put it out there."
Edwards on Kimbrel and then his recent good run pic.twitter.com/bdUnWcEvgG— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) June 6, 2019
Veteran starting pitcher Jon Lester was also thrilled to have Kimbrel on board, knowing good and well how valuable having a closer of his caliber can be. Lester was complimentary of the Cubs' front office for pulling the trigger on the Kimbrel acquisition and noted that the three-year deal that Kimbrel agreed to bodes well for the Cubs' future.
"Those guys stepped up big for us," Lester said of the Cubs' front-office personnel in the wake of the contract agreement with Kimbrel. "It lengthens our bullpen. It takes a little bit of pressure off us as starters."
Kimbrel agreed to join the Cubs by way of a three-year deal worth close to $45 million that will run through the 2021 season. There is no word yet on when exactly Kimbrel will join the team, but several Cubs players echoed the sentiment that they hope that it will be as soon as possible.