Jul 4, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (46) reacts after giving up the go ahead run to the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning at Turner Field. The Marlins defeated the Braves 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Braves and Kimbrel Agree, Avoid Arbitration

We learned from the Atlanta Braves official Twitter account, this morning at approximately 8:30 AM central time, that Craig Kimbrel and the Braves have agreed to terms on a four year contract, avoiding arbitration.

The #Braves have agreed to terms with @kimbrel46 on a four-year contract, avoiding salary arbitration. (https://twitter.com/Braves/status/435059607569170432)

Certainly Braves’ fans all across Braves’ country will utter a collective (or almost collective) sigh of relief, and most fans seemed to feel losing Kimbrel would have been a huge loss.  Not all Braves’ fans felt that way though, and some of us at Tomahawk Take had a different opinion.  We’ve expressed some of our opinions and these possibilities, with a recent article by Alan Carpenter on the possible outcomes of Kimbrel’s case, and I argued around two months ago for trading Kimbrel.  However you feel, the argument can certainly be made that it’s good for the Braves to have finally settled with Craig.

With recent long-term contract extensions for Freddie Freeman and Julio Teheran, it appears the Braves are certainly willing to push some financial boundaries in an effort to have a successful 2014 and beyond.  Many fans, including myself, were nervous about the cost of Kimbrel (never mind other extensions), and feel that there were other less costly options.  Frank Wren felt differently though, and has indicated that he felt closing the case on Kimbrel was important.   According to tweets by David O’Brien, Wren said…

#Braves Wren: “I’m not in the camp that says anybody can close games.”
#Braves Wren: ‘We’re thrilled that Craig’s going to be here for at least the next 4 years, and we’re pretty confident  it’s going to be 5.”

I’m personally a little shocked that the Braves closed this deal, but recent moves by the Braves would seem to indicate they are deadly serious about doing whatever it takes to get the job done.  I’ll let other analysts start working on the implications of this deal (math, costs, payroll, etc), but the particulars of the deal are that Kimbrel was signed to a four year deal (plus a 1 year option) worth $42 million, with a potential max value (incentives) of $58 million! Tweets from David O’Brien and Mark Bowman fill in the details…

Kimbrel gets $42M guaranteed, as 1st reported by @jaysonst , and there are escalators/incentives that can push it lot higher. (https://twitter.com/ajcbraves/status/435066141753368576)
Kimbrel’s deal is guaranteed to be for four years and $42 million. Potential Max value is five years and $58 million. (https://twitter.com/mlbbowman/status/435065259632889857)

Certainly, we’ll learn a few more details about the deal, and we’ll have plenty more to say about the implications in the coming days, but shocked, saddened, happy, or filled with glee, most fans are certainly happy to no longer have this particular case hanging over Braves’ Country.  What’s your take on the details of the Kimbrel deal?  Love it?  Hate it?  Just glad it’s over?  Let us know how you feel.

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  • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

    Getting more than even Kimbrel asked for would seem to indicate there was really no drama here, but just Atlanta business as usual going to the hearings, and business as “new” with these extensions. Appears Wren and Co, and certainly Hart’s influence now, never had any intention of fighting much with Craig and his agent. Can you say, “DRAMA”?

  • fireboss

    The John Hart effect is seen once more. This is so far outside the norm for a Braves team that his influence can’t be denied here. Nice to see they took my advice and went back to the table. :)
    An 11.5M AAV looks like a steal since he was surely going to win tomorrow setting a baseline that would certainly have cost more over that time. It is a lot for a closer and the sabermetric guys will certainly decry it as an extravagance but just the specter of Kimbrel has an effect on the way other managers run their game.

    • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

      Definitely a good deal, but of course we just have to hope Kimbrel doesn’t regress, as he has shown a few signs of doing. That’s always the gamble, but sometimes you have to live in the NOW.

    • Lee Trocinski

      I believe this meant Kimbrel’s camp thought he was going to lose the hearing, settling for so close to the team offer. Also, saber people will be on the positive side the Braves for this deal. At the end of the contract, the Braves will still only be paying him for a 2.50 ERA performance, which is completely reasonable.

      • fireboss

        I think Kimbrel understands that no matter what his arb is teams just aren’t going to pay starter money for the long term to a reliever. he’s also a local guy and still young enough that it means something. I think the Braves got a good deal on this and other GMS are saying whew as well. When their close asks for the moon they’ll say “You aren’t Kimbrel”

  • Jeff Schafer

    Rejoice!! It’s great to be a braves fan right now