Kimbrel eventually signed with the Cubs in early June on a three-year, $43-million deal to be the team's closer, but he struggled in his new setting once he joined the big league team later in the month.
Kimbrel went 0-4 with a 6.53 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 23 appearances while converting 13 of his 16 save chances in 2019. His performance included 12 walks and nine home runs allowed in 20 2/3 innings.
"Terrible is kind of an understatement for what I felt I did last year," Kimbrel said at the Cubs' spring training camp in Mesa, Arizona on Thursday. "So going into this year, I just got to get back to doing my job, get on the mound and saving games. Time will tell. A lot of questions will be answered. But I have no doubt in my mind that I'm going to do my job this year, put last year behind us."
A seven-time All-Star, Kimbrel is still set to be Cubs' closer entering the new season and hopes the benefits of a full spring training with a team will help him regain his strong form.
Kimbrel entered the offseason understanding why he had struggled. The issues were mechanical and physical, he said in downplaying the mental aspect. Now he just wants to make a better impression.
"I kind of knew what I was going through as I had my ups and downs of last year," Kimbrel said. "I knew at the time what I was struggling with and what I wasn't getting to. It's right now just putting that all together and making sure I'm on top of things, keeping my body healthy and be the best me that I can be on the field.
"It should be a good year."