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December 06, 2023

Report: Craig Kimbrel agree to one-year deal with Orioles

Closer Craig Kimbrel will head to the Orioles after a brutal stretch to end the Phillies' 2023 postseason run.

It's official now that someone else will be closing out games for the Phillies in 2024. 

Craig Kimbrel has agreed to a one-year, $13 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles, per MLB Network's Joel Sherman, in a deal that will also include an option for 2025. 

The veteran closer joined the Phillies on a one-year deal last winter and notched his 400th career save along with another All-Star appearance, but isn't leaving Philadelphia on the greatest of terms among the fan base after falling apart in the postseason – more specifically, Games 3 and 4 of the NLCS. 

Kimbrel recorded 23 saves in 2023, but only got noticeably more unsteady as the season wore on. Somehow, he kept finding a way to get by with a 3.26 ERA, a 1.043 WHIP, and a strikeout-walk rate of 3.36. 

But in October, it caught up to him, and at the worst possible time for the Phillies in what became pivotal losses to the Diamondbacks in the NLCS. 

You weren't going to find many fans in the Delaware Valley eager to see him back after. 

The Orioles took the American League by storm last season with a 101-61 record and an AL East crown, but immediately hit a wall against the eventual World champion Texas Rangers in an ALDS sweep. 

Then they entered the offseason with a major setback, losing AL Reliever of the Year Félix Bautista until 2025 because of Tommy John surgery. 

So now Baltimore is turning to the 35-year old Kimbrel as one of their options to compensate for that loss in the back of the bullpen. 

As for the Phillies, barring any further additions this winter, they have hard-throwing options like José Alvarado, Seranthony Domínguez, and Orion Kerkering they could possibly turn to late in games, though there's nothing quite concrete about that yet.

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