KISSIMMEE — Craig Kimbrel saw the growing list of young 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 said. "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 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 two 24-year-old hitters, first baseman Freddie Freeman and outfielder Jason Heyward.
Kimbrel, 25, avoided salary arbitration. He was the last Braves player eligible for arbitration.
Kimbrel of Huntsville, Ala., said he wanted to continue to play close to his home.
"First of all, I want to thank God for giving me the ability that he has and blessing me to allow my family to be so close to me and be in the place where I've grown up always wanting to be," he said. "Now, I get to say I get to be here for four or five more years. If I didn't want to be here, this wouldn't be going on. I couldn't be any happier."
TEIXEIRA BULLISH: Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira took swings from both sides of the plate, his first time batting outdoors since a wrist injury ended his 2013 season almost before it began. The switch-hitter pronounced himself ready and added that New York's offseason spree has him optimistic. "You look at our lineup, we're back to being the Yankees again," he said. "Last year we weren't the Yankees."
ATHLETICS: Outfielder Josh Reddick avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a $2.7 million, one-year contract.
METS: The team will honor late broadcaster Ralph Kiner by wearing a uniform patch.
PHILLIES: The team and right-hander A.J. Burnett completed a contract that guarantees him $15 million for 2014 and $22.5 million over two seasons.
RED SOX: Right-hander Ryan Dempster, 36, said he will not play this season for physical reasons and to spend more time with his family. … Right-handed reliever Francisco Cordero, 38, agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to the spring training.