Craig Kimbrel saw the growing list of young Atlanta Braves players committing to long-term deals and decided he wanted to jump on board.
Atlanta locked up another important piece of its foundation Sunday by agreeing to a $42-million, four-year contract with Kimbrel, the All-Star closer.
“I want to stay here with a group of guys that I came up with and I'm comfortable with,” Kimbrel told reporters. “In the game of baseball, it's who you're around, it's the team you're on and the guys you're surrounded by.
“We have an awesome core here. I think this is a core that can win for a long time.”
The deal with Kimbrel came only two days after the Braves and right-hander Julio Teheran, 23, agreed to terms on a six-year, $32.4-million contract.
Earlier this month, the Braves announced multiyear deals with a pair of 24-year-old hitters — first baseman Freddie Freeman and outfielder Jason Heyward.
Dempster steps away from baseball
Boston Red Sox right-hander Ryan Dempster plans to take this season off, a decision that surprised teammates and will cost the 16-year veteran $13.25 million in salary.
Dempster said he is stepping away for physical reasons and to spend more time with his family. But he left a slight opening to play in 2015.
Dempster, whose contract expires after this season, finished his only year with the Red Sox with an 8-9 record and a 4.57 earned-run average and didn't get a start during their postseason run to a World Series title.