Craig Kimbrel may have finally landed himself a deal with an MLB team, but it still could be a while until the right-hander takes the field.
Kimbrel is less than one week removed from signing a three-year, $43 million deal with the Chicago Cubs following months as a free agent. Kimbrel has yet to pitch in a major league setting in 2019, although that likely will soon change.
At Friday’s introductory press conference, Cubs president Theo Epstein broke down how Chicago plans to bring Kimbrel up to snuff.
“First step is going to throw a bullpen tomorrow, and then head out to (the Cubs’ complex) in Mesa, Ariz. and have a condensed spring training,” Epstein said, as transcribed by CBSSports.com. “We’ll throw a couple bullpens, face live hitters and we’ll get a gauge on where he’s at from there.
Eventually, Kimbrel will make a rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa. But for now, Epstein says the team is “not going to rush” him.
“It’s going to tempting to get him here as soon as possible, but we’re trying to plan this thing the right way so he can be in a position to succeed not just immediately but all the way through October,” Epstein said. “That’s going to be our guiding principle as we go.”
The Cubs currently are battling the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the National League Central division, so they certainly could use the extra bullpen help.