After months of seemingly endless waiting, one of the best closers in baseball is back in the big leagues.
The Chicago Cubs have officially promoted star closer Craig Kimbrel from Triple-A Iowa after the veteran reliever was getting loose in the minor leagues. In a corresponding move, right-hander Tony Barnette has been optioned back to Iowa.
The Cubs signed the seven-time All-Star in early June in the hopes that he could provide a solution to their bullpen woes. They have 12 blown saves in 2019 and the relief core ranks 18th in fWAR.
Kimbrel went unsigned well into the season due to trepidation that his skills were declining and that he wasn't worth the massive payday he was asking for.
And truth be told, those notions weren't entirely unfounded. He struggled mightily in the second half of the 2018 season with the Red Sox, posting a 4.57 ERA in 22.1 innings of work following the All-Star break. His 5.91 ERA and 16% walk rate in the postseason didn't do him much help in justifying his contract demands either.
Now, though, he has the chance to prove his detractors wrong. He can be the saving grace of Chicago's bullpen.
After a brief tune-up stint for the Iowa Cubs in which he posted a 2.45 ERA in 3.2 innings, he's set to join the team in Chicago as they prepare to wrap up their series against the team he started his career with, the Atlanta Braves.
Everything's lined up for a perfect return to dominance. All that's left to do is call is name in the ninth.