The Atlanta Braves have made another big financial commitment, locking up All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, with a four-year contract and an option year in 2017. Financial terms have not been announced by the Braves. The signing helps the Braves and Kimbrel avoid a potential nasty arbitration hearing.
“We are very excited to agree to terms with Craig, who we feel is the best closer in Major League Baseball,” Braves Executive Vice President and General Manager Frank Wren said. “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 25-year old Kimbrel has earned 139 save in 154 save opportunities in his career. His 90.3% close percentage ranks third all-time behind Eric Gagne (91.7%) and former Braves player John Smoltz (91.1%). He has racked up an impressive 1.39 ERA in 231 relief appearances. With 15 more saves, Kimbrel will pass Smoltz, to become the Braves all-time saves leader.
Kimbrel had a stellar 2013 season, making the National League All-Star team for the third straight season, and finishing fourth in the NL Cy Young voting.
Kimbrel has not only produced in the regular season, in six postseason games he has pitched 6.2 innings and recorded 10 strikeouts, with a 1.35 ERA, while allowing only one hit.
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