My latest for MLB Nation:
Craig Kimbrel and the Atlanta Braves announced Sunday morning that they have agreed to terms on a four-year contract with an option for 2018. The financial details of the contract were not disclosed.
Kimbrel, 25, is arguably one of Major League Baseball’s best closers and by far the best in the National League. He has led the National League in saves the past three seasons, including recording a MLB leading 50 saves last season. In 2013 Kimbrel posted an ERA of 1.21 and had 98 strikeouts in just 67 innings pitched. The three time All-Star was also Rookie of the Year in the National League in 2011.
With statistics like those it is no wonder the Braves wanted to avoid any arbitration issues with the young closer as well as keep him on their roster as long as they can. As it is Kimbrel will be only 29 when this contract is up. If he stays healthy over the next four years the Braves may have a hard time keeping him. Braves general manager, Frank Wren said of Kimbrel,
“”We are very excited to agree to terms with Craig, who we feel is the best closer in Major League Baseball. He is one of the key pieces of our pitching staff and we are happy to keep him in a Braves uniform for at least four more years.”
The Braves have made it their top priority to lock down all their young stars this off season. They recently signed Freddie Freeman, 24, to an eight-year, $135 million deal. They also made sure to keep outfielder Jason Heyward, also 24, and 21-year old starting pitcher, Julio Teheran, who went 14-8 last season with a 3.20 ERA.
With so many young stars the Braves are not only securing success for 2014 but for the future as well.
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