Kimbrel deal a win for Braves, industry
February, 16, 2014
By Jim Bowden | ESPN Insider
Pouya Dianat/Getty ImagesCraig Kimbrel has fanned 14.9 batters per nine innings over the past two seasons.The Atlanta Braves have been locking up young talent left and right. In recent weeks they have given long-term contracts to Freddie Freeman and Julio Teheran that bought out arbitration and free-agent years, and on Sunday they did the same with Craig Kimbrel.
Kimbrel and the club were headed toward a potentially contentious arbitration battle, but they avoided the hearing by agreeing to a four-year deal worth $42 million with a fifth-year team option valued at $13 million. The Braves have to be thrilled with this deal, and I bet execs from other clubs are pleased to see it, as well.
Kimbrel is just 25 years old, and in each of the past two years he posted an ERA lower than Mariano Rivera ever did.