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Braves, closer Kimbrel reach $42 million deal

The SportsXchange

The Atlanta Braves and All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a four-year contract Sunday.

The deal is worth $42 million, according to multiple reports. It includes a club option for $13 million for 2018 with a $1 million buyout.

Kimbrel receives a $1 million signing bonus. His annual salary ranges from $7 million this year to $13 million in 2017.

Kimbrel can also get a bonus of up to $3.5 million at the end of the contract based on All-Star appearances, MVP and Cy Young Award voting, and games finished.

That brings the value to potentially more than $58 million.

"We are very excited to agree to terms with Craig, who we feel is the best closer in Major League Baseball," general manager Frank Wren said in a statement. "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, 25, has led the National League in saves in each of the past three seasons.

In 2013, Kimbrel had a 1.21 ERA and led the major leagues with 50 saves. He struck out 98 in 67 innings.

Over the past four seasons, Kimbrel has 139 saves and a 1.39 ERA.

The Braves previously gave new contracts to first baseman Freddie Freeman, outfielder Jason Heyward and starting pitcher Julio Teheran this offseason.

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