clear
Wednesday May 6th, 2015 11:42AM

Kimbrel, Braves agree to $42M, 4-year contract

By The Associated Press
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Craig Kimbrel saw the growing list of young Braves players committing to long-term deals and decided he wanted to jump on board.

Atlanta locked up another important piece of its foundation Sunday by agreeing to a $42 million, four-year contract with Kimbrel, the All-Star closer.

"I want to stay here with a group of guys that I came up with and I'm comfortable with," Kimbrel told reporters. "In the game of baseball, it's who you're around, it's the team you're on and the guys you're surrounded by. We have an awesome core here. I think this is a core that can win for a long time."

The deal with Kimbrel came only two days after the Braves and right-hander Julio Teheran, 23, agreed to terms on a six-year, $32.4 million contract on Friday.

Earlier this month, the Braves announced multiyear deals with a pair of 24-year-old hitters - first baseman Freddie Freeman and outfielder Jason Heyward.

Kimbrel, 25, avoided salary arbitration. He was the last Braves player eligible for arbitration.

Kimbrel, from Huntsville, Ala., said he wanted to continue to play close to his home.

"First of all, I want to thank God for giving me the ability that he has and blessing me to allow my family to be so close to me and be in the place where I've grown up always wanting to be," Kimbrel said. "Now, I get to say I get to be here for four or five more years. If I didn't want to be here, this wouldn't be going on. I couldn't be any happier."

Kimbrel gets a $1 million signing bonus and salaries of $7 million this year, $9 million in 2015, $11 million in 2016 and $13 million in 2017. The Braves have a $13 million option for 2018 with a $1 million buyout.

"We are very excited to agree to terms with Craig, who we feel is the best closer in Major League Baseball," Braves 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."

Kimbrel's arbitration hearing had been set for Monday. The Braves offered $6.55 million and Kimbrel asked for $9 million.

Freeman agreed to the biggest contract in Braves history - $135 million for eight years. Heyward's contract is for two years and $13.3 million.

The agreement with Kimbrel allows the Braves to retain one of baseball's most dominant closers. He has 138 saves in the last three seasons, including 50 saves with a 1.21 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 67 innings last year. He earned one save in 2010 as his introduction to his run of three straight All-Star seasons in 2011-13.

Kimbrel has a 1.39 ERA with 381 strikeouts in 227 1-3 career innings. The hard-throwing right-hander has been successful in 139 of 154 career saves opportunities.

Kimbrel can add value to his contract through a points system.

He would earn five points each time he's an All-Star, 10 for winning a Cy Young Award, five for finishing second or third in Cy Young, three for finishing fourth or fifth in Cy Young, five for being the top Cy Young voter-getter among pitchers with fewer than five starts; 10 for winning an MVP award, five for finishing second or third in MVP, third for finishing fourth or fifth in MVP, and three for each season with 57 or more games finished.

Kimbrel would be paid $1 million for 20 points and $500,000 for each additional five points through 45.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 4 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 4 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 4 months ago )
Sports
Pits will be tight as Chili Bowl entry count hits 316
TULSA, OK - The 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire is on track to be a record smashing event, with the entry count climbing over the 300 mark for the first time to 316 entries confirming 303 drivers for the indoor spectacular happening Tuesday, January 13 through Saturday, January 17 at the Tulsa Expo Center in Tulsa, OK.
9:59AM ( 4 months ago )
Falcons fire Mike Smith after 2nd straight losing season
Mike Smith's status as the winningest coach in Falcons history wasn't enough to save his job. Owner Arthur Blank said he fired Smith on Monday because in his "heart of hearts" he didn't believe Smith could take the Falcons to the Super Bowl.
7:58PM ( 4 months ago )
New promoters in place for 2015 at Senoia Raceway
SENOIA, GA - Lease papers have been signed and a team of new promoters is in place for the upcoming stock car racing season at Senoia Raceway in Senoia, GA.
6:00AM ( 4 months ago )
Professional Sports
Girls soccer: Lady War Eagles make history, storm into first ever quarterfinals
Mark Dunn keeps watching his retirement drift further and further away. And the Chestatee girls soccer coach is just fine with that...
2:07PM ( 2 hours from now )
Girls soccer: Lady Wolves roll into 3rd round; St. Pius up next (VIDEO)
Buford girls soccer coach Crystal Fowler wanted to see some variety from her offense Tuesday in the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs...
12:45PM ( 1 hour from now )
Baseball: Area teams head to 2nd round with momentum
Area teams caught some big breaks, others made their own, and one, Jackson County, made history in the first round of the state baseball playoffs...
12:31PM ( 49 minutes from now )
Hawks fight back, knot up series with Wizards, 1-1
DeMarre Carroll scored 22 points, Kyle Korver bounced back from a miserable first half and the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks held off the Washington Wizards 106-90 on Tuesday night, taking advantage of John Wall's absence to even the Eastern Conference semifinals at one game apiece.
8:40AM ( 3 hours ago )
LaMance victorious in Lavonia FASTRAK Pro Late Models
Steve “Hot Rod” LaMance got the month of May off to a strong start Friday night. The veteran dirt Late Model pilot drove to the lead in the FASTRAK Pro Late Model feature at Lavonia Speedway in Lavonia, GA, and went on to score the victory.
8:00AM ( 3 hours ago )