Before the trade deadline got the majority of our attention, the fate of two free agents dominated the rumor mill and those players were Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. As soon as draft pick compensation was no longer attached to signing them, many speculated where they were going to end up. Keuchel ended up signing a one year deal with the Braves and Kimbrel did a little better with a three year deal with a team option for a fourth year with the Cubs at a rate of $16 million per year.
To say that Kimbrel’s start to his time hasn’t gone very well may be a bit of an understatement. Some openly questioned whether or not Kimbrel was declining, but few thought that he would post a 5.68 ERA through his first 14 appearances with the Cubs. He is still striking out batters, but he is also giving up hits and walks at a rate we haven’t seen from him. Now, it looks like he will be out for a while.
Craig Kimbrel to the IL with a knee issue. Duane Underwood recalled.— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) August 5, 2019
The reporting surrounding Kimbrel’s injury has shown that Kimbrel felt the discomfort during his last appearance and that the current diagnosis is that it is just inflammation in his knee. Given that the Cubs are already in a dogfight in the NL Central, losing Kimbrel (even with his struggles) is a blow given how the Cubs’ bullpen has struggled as a whole this season.
As for Kimbrel, one does have to wonder if the irregular start to his season played a role here and/or that Father Time continues to creep up on him. There isn’t a firm timetable for his return, so for the sake of the sanity of Cubs fans...it will be sooner rather than later at that he will look like the Craig Kimbrel we are more accustomed to seeing.