Braves sign Cole Hamels to a one-year deal

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The Braves started the free agency period with a bang by signing Will Smith, and they really haven’t stopped spending money since. They inked Chris Martin and Travis d’Arnaud to manageable two-year deals, and now have brought in a veteran with loads of playoff experience on a fat one-year contract, much like they did with Josh Donaldson and Dallas Keuchel last year.

Hamels is about to turn 36 and is heading into his 15th season but hasn’t lost much in terms of stuff. He had 9.1 Ks/9 innings last season for the Cubs, which is better than his career average of 8.5, to go along with his 3.78 ERA in 27 starts.

On a one-year contract at $18 million, this isn’t the Ace many fans were praying for, but the Braves made this move for three reasons. Hamels adds another high-quality lefty to the rotation, allowing Atlanta to have flexibility with Sean Newcomb. He’s a veteran with an excellent reputation and a ton of postseason success. In 17 playoff appearances (16 starts), Hamels is 7-6 with a 3.41 ERA. And perhaps most importantly, he was willing to come on a one-year deal. After spending money on Will Smith and others, the Braves were going to have to save somewhere. Let’s just hope this is the small move that means a bigger one at third base is coming.

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