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Baltimore Orioles add reliever Craig Kimbrel to bullpen on 1-year, $13 million deal

Kimbrel may be a top-10 closer with the Orioles
D.J. Short and Eric Samulski look at Craig Kimbrel heading to the Baltimore Orioles, where he looks like a solid closer option for fantasy managers.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Baltimore Orioles added reliever Craig Kimbrel to their bullpen on a one-year deal for $13 million, the team announced.

The deal agreed to on the final day of 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 this season with Philadelphia and earned his ninth All-Star nod.

The Orioles said in a social media post the deal includes a club option for 2025. Kimbrel helps replace Felix Bautista, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, though Yennier Cano is another option as their closer.

Kimbrel, who won the 2018 World Series with Boston, pitched in 71 games for the Phillies this 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 season with a 3.26 ERA and 23 saves helping Philadelphia to the NL Championship Series before losing in seven. He struck out 94 over 69 innings pitched, his most since striking out 100 in 2021 in stints with the Chicago Cubs and White Sox that season.

He had a 2.21 ERA over his final 57 appearances, and Kimbrel 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.

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