The Atlanta Braves and closing pitcher Craig Kimbrel have agreed to a four-year, $42 million deal on Sunday, according to media reports. Kimbrel had been going into arbitration this offseason, but this extension will avoid the hearing. Kimbrel could make up to $58 million over five-years, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
The Braves have been busy this offseason with extensions. This is the third extension the Braves have offered this offseason, following the pacts for Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, and Julio Teheran. They have spent $222.7 million in guaranteed contracts through extensions this offseason, all with young, homegrown talent.
The 25-year-old has arguably been the best closer in the National League since breaking out in the Major Leagues in 2011, when Kimbrel won the National League Rookie of the Year award. In his past three seasons, Kimbrel has had 138 saves while posting a 1.48 ERA in 206 2/3 innings. In 2013, Kimbrel went 4-3 with a 1.21 ERA and 50 saves in 68 games with the Braves (320 ERA+). Kimbrel has been an All Star each of the last three seasons.
The Braves have been busy locking up young talent this offseason, which should be the way to go. After locking up Freeman, Heyward, and Teheran to large contracts, they lock up Craig Kimbrel, their anchor in the bullpen, to a large deal. This is a good route for the Braves to take as the look to contend into the future seasons.