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Cubs News: Craig Kimbrel, Willson Contreras Placed on Injured List

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 23:  Craig Kimbrel #24 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the 11th inning at Oracle Park on July 23, 2019 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Chicago Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel has been placed on the 10-day injured list with right knee inflammation, according to Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic. 

Sharma noted the initial hope is that Kimbrel will not be sidelined for "much more than the 10 days required."

Catcher Willson Contreras was also placed on the IL because of a right hamstring strain suffered during Saturday's game and is expected to miss four weeks. The two-time All-Star is hitting .275/.365/.525 with 19 home runs and 57 RBI in 87 games.

After going unsigned for months, Kimbrel finally put pen to paper on a three-year, $43 million deal with the Cubs in June. The seven-time All-Star gave Chicago the elite late-inning reliever it had lacked to start the 2019 season.

Kimbrel's performance from 2018 did raise the question as to whether he was the right choice to address that concern. His FIP ballooned to a career-worst 3.13—up from 1.42 in 2017—and he averaged 4.48 walks per nine innings.

Equally concerning, Kimbrel's fastball averaged 97.63 mph, one full mph lower than the season before and his lowest since 2011, per Brooks Baseball.

Through 14 appearances for the Cubs, Kimbrel has 17 strikeouts and a 6.77 FIP while allowing eight walks.

Relief pitchers tend to age worse than starters. Andrew Miller is an example how quickly things can take a turn for previously dominant relievers.

Kimbrel was by far the best closer in the 2019 free-agent market and seemed to represent an upgrade for the Cubs. This injury, however, shows Chicago took some level of risk when it brought the right-handed fireballer aboard.

           

Stats are courtesy of FanGraphs.

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