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Orioles relying on veteran closer Craig Kimbrel to solidify back end of bullpen

Expected new Baltimore Orioles owner David Rubenstein shares more details of potential purchase
Expected new Baltimore Orioles owner David Rubenstein shares more details of potential purchase 01:05

BALTIMORE - Craig Kimbrel has more big-game experience than anyone on the Baltimore Orioles' roster.

That's why the team went out and signed this offseason one of the best closers in baseball history.

Kimbrel, who is eighth all-time with 417 career saves, is on a one-year contract worth $13 million.

The Orioles lost All-Star closer Felix Bautista for the entire season after he underwent Tommy John surgery. He isn't expected to return until the 2025 season.

With Kimbrell, the O's have a nine-time All-Star and a World Series championship.

"To go in and get a guy that's been one of the premiere closers in the game for the last 10 years or so, a guy that's pitched in a lot of World Series games, big games, to have that type of experience is huge," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.

Kimbrell, now 35 years old and on his eighth team, was the National League's saves leader on four occasions. He has a career 2.40 ERA.

He recorded six saves in the 2018 playoffs and helped the Boston Red Sox to the championship.

"He was a really good fit for us with Felix being out," Kimbrel said. "I know he's really excited about joining this team," Orioles General Manager Mike Elias said. "There's a guy with every experience you can have in baseball. He's going to be a big presence at the back end of our bullpen." 

Last season, playing with the Philadelphia Phillies, Kimbrel boasted a 3.26 ERA with 23 saves and a record of 8-6.

He did, however, have two losses, including a blown save, in the seven-game series loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Championship Series.

 The Orioles are coming off a 101-win season and an American League East championship.

They lost to the Texas Rangers in the American League Division Series.

The Orioles open spring training on Feb. 24 against the Boston Red Sox. Their season opener will be on March 28 against the Los Angeles Angels at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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