Craig Kimbrel rumors: Cubs could go after closer in Ben Zobrist’s absence

It’s odd to say that an infielder’s absence could aid in a team signing a pitcher, but that’s exactly what is increasing the possibility the Cubs sign closer Craig Kimbrel.

Ben Zobrist is on the restricted list right now which means Chicago does not have to pay him. If he remains on the Cubs’ list for the rest of the year – which manager Joe Maddon said this week he has to prepare for – they would save $9 million.

The money would give Chicago enough savings to potentially sign Kimbrel in free agency and stay under the $246 million salary threshold, according to a report from The Athletic.

If a team goes over the threshold they have to pay fines to the league and can lose international bonus money. It is a big reason why the Cubs didn’t sign Kimbrel this offseason despite knowing closer Brandon Morrow could be due for an extended amount of time on the injured list after offseason elbow surgery.

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