Craig Kimbrel finally has found a place to play.
The fireballer has reached a deal with the Chicago Cubs, according to multiple reports, ending a very long, drawn-out free-agency process that carried out well into the season. The Boston Red Sox opted not to bring the closer back in the offseason and were not in the running for the righty as his sweepstakes dragged into the regular season.
Alex Cora said he was happy for Kimbrel, and Chris Sale joined in on those sentiments. But the Sox’s ace lefty had a much more bittersweet reaction to the news.
“I think everyone in this clubhouse would have liked to have him back but we understand it,” Sale said, via Mass Live’s Chris Cotillo. “I’m happy he found a home.”
Kimbrel could not lock down a long-term contract in the offseason, with many teams not wanting to surrender a first-round draft pick to snag this generation’s greatest closer. Of course, there were no such stipulations for the Sox.
Sale voiced frustration over Kimbrel’s free agency struggles throughout the offseason. But Boston was determined to go on without Kimbrel, opting for a bullpen that’s mostly been anchored by Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Brandon Workman and Marcus Walden.