Free agent closer Craig Kimbrel, in whom the Chicago Cubs do have reported interest, is uncoupled from draft pick compensation as of this morning. A team can now sign him for just money.
For reasons we’ve discussed at length, although there are obvious risks associated with signing a big money guy who has sat out this long, it’s still worth the risk for this particular Cubs team. The expectation has long been that, as soon as draft pick compensation went away, the markets for Kimbrel and fellow free agent Dallas Keuchel would pick up steam, perhaps resolving as soon as this week.
To that end, because of the fit with the Cubs and the fit with other NL contenders, we should be following this very closely.
One (very) little bit this morning from Jon Heyman, who was on The Score:
— Mully And Haugh (@mullyhaugh) June 3, 2019
I agree with those things.
Also, a reminder on the tax front: although the Cubs are going to be over the first threshold, they’d have to add upwards of $20 million in 2019 luxury tax payroll to go over the top tier of the luxury tax, and risk consequences that go beyond mere taxes (i.e., draft pick consequences). It’s virtually impossible for the Cubs to add that much 2019 luxury tax payroll in a half-season anyway, so I really don’t see a reason for the luxury tax, itself, to be a consideration at this point. Instead, it’s really just about what funds are available to baseball operations, and how much flexibility they want to preserve for the July 31 trade deadline.