Braves, Martin Prado avoid arbitration with one-year, $4.75 million deal

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Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Braves and Martin Prado have avoided arbitration by agreeing on a one-year, $4.75 million contract.

Prado, who is under team control through 2013, earned $3.1 million last season while batting .260/.302/.385 with 13 homers, 57 RBI and a .687 OPS over 590 plate appearances while making 90 starts in left field, 35 at third base and two at first base. The 28-year-old missed more than a month with a staph infection in his right leg and batted just .244 with a .622 OPS upon his return in mid-July, so it’s possible he may have rushed back too soon.

We’ve heard plenty of trade rumors involving Prado this offseason, most notably with the Rockies and Orioles, but barring any last-minute deals, he’ll open 2012 as the Braves’ starting left fielder.

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.