All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel has penned a four-year, $42 million deal with Atlanta Braves which will run through the 2017 season, including an option for 2018.
The contract sees Kimbrel getting a $1 million signing bonus, in addition to salaries of $7 million this year, $9 million in 2015, $11 million in 2016, and $13 million in 2017.
If the additional year is picked up, Kimbrel will receive a further $13 million, with the Braves having a $1 million buyout clause.
The signing of the closer has meant that both parties avoided salary arbitration – the hearing for which was set for Monday.
It was reported that Kimbrel’s side had asked for a salary of $9 million, with the Braves falling short of that valuation by offering $6.55 million.
Kimbrel, 25, has 139 career saves in 154 opportunities, and leads all pitchers in saves over the last three seasons with an impressive 1.44 ERA. Over that time he has put up numbers that suggest he is not only one of the best relievers, but also one of the premier pitchers in the league.
Atlanta’s general manager Frank Wren described the former third-round pick as ‘the best closer in the league’.
"We’re thrilled that Craig’s going to be here for at least the next four years, and we’re pretty confident it’s going to be the next five.
“Just look at what he’s contributed to the team in his first three years in the big leagues. It’s not only special, it’s historic.”
The Kimbrel signing came just two days after the Braves signed right-handed pitcher Julio Teheran to a six-year, $32.4 million contract, in addition to the extensions to the contracts of first baseman Freddie Freeman, and outfielder Jason Heyward, outlining the Braves’ intentions and ambition for the coming season.
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