We’re in a weird limbo spot on the Craig Kimbrel signing, because, while everyone knows and concedes it’s happening, the signing is not OFFICIAL, which means we can’t yet get any formal updates on the plans for his season preparation.
When will it be officially official? As soon as later this morning, according to Jon Heyman. And then it’s a matter of when he can pitch with the team.
Jeff Passan suggested it might actually be only a couple weeks before Kimbrel is with the Cubs, but the whiffs we’re getting from Joe Maddon indicate he still thinks it’ll be more along the lines of a typical Spring Training reliever build up.
“First, I’d like to find out exactly what he’s been doing,” Joe Maddon told NBCS Chicago. “It’s different because a guy like himself, I would imagine he’s really been throwing a lot. Maybe he’s been on a particular schedule. I don’t know if he’s throwing to hitters wherever he’s located. The first thing you do is find that part of it out. And then after that, I think you can develop the length of whatever you want to do and then set up the program regarding throw — how many days off — throw and then possibly build it up to like two in a row, something like that. But I don’t know the answer. A three-week window normally sounds about right.”
Again, you’re looking at the home stand that begins in a couple weeks as the early end of your expectation, and not too much beyond that as the far end. Once the signing is officially official, I expect we’ll learn more about the plan, and how it could be particularly tailored to whatever Kimbrel has been doing.
In the meantime, a few other fun bits on Kimbrel …
It turns out there was one other team willing to make a three-year offer just shy of the Cubs’ three-year, $43 million offer – it was the Rays:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 6, 2019
Given the notoriously miserly ways of the Rays, the fact that they were willing to offer three years and nearly $40 million for Kimbrel should give you all the more belief that he has been thoroughly evaluated, and not only is he believed to be very good to go for this year, but also that last year’s late struggles perhaps can be discounted.
The Cubs are obviously very excited to get Kimbrel in the house:
"I was like, 'That's it. We got him.'"
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 6, 2019
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticCHI) June 6, 2019
— OBVIOUS SHIRTS (@obvious_shirts) June 6, 2019