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Craig Kimbrel leaves Phillies, signs 1-year, $13M deal with Orioles

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Craig Kimbrel jogs toward mound
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Craig Kimbrel of the Philadelphia Phillies enters the game in the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks during Game Six of the Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 23, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Baltimore Orioles added reliever Craig Kimbrel to their bullpen Wednesday on a one-year contract for $13 million.

The deal completed on the final day of baseball's winter meetings also includes performance bonuses for the right-hander, who turns 36 in May. The Orioles will become the eighth team for Kimbrel, who spent last season with Philadelphia and earned his ninth All-Star nod.

The AL East champion Orioles said in a social media post the contract includes a club option for 2025. Kimbrel helps replace All-Star closer Félix Bautista, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery.

“I think both parties are entering this arrangement with the spirit of this potentially being a two-year thing. We're optimistic about it,” Baltimore general manager Mike Elias said. “The plan is for him to be the closer.”

Kimbrel, who won the 2018 World Series with Boston, pitched in 71 games for the Phillies last season. It marked the second time in his career he appeared in at least 70 games and the first since 79 in 2011.

He was 8-6 this year with a 3.26 ERA and 23 saves in helping Philadelphia to the NL Championship Series before they lost to Arizona in seven games. He struck out 94 over 69 innings, his most since striking out 100 in 2021 with the Chicago Cubs and White Sox.

Kimbrel had a 2.21 ERA over his final 57 appearances, and was even better in September with a 1.50 ERA in 12 games. He was 0-2 with three saves and a 6.00 ERA in seven playoff games.

The Phillies thanked Kimbrel in a social media post. Fans in the comments noted Kimbrel's postseason struggles.

Kimbrel got a $10 million, one-year deal with Philadelphia coming off his contract with the Cubs worth $58 million over four seasons, including the option year in 2022, before the value was lowered by the pandemic.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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