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.
Left-hander Cole Hamels and the Atlanta Braves are in agreement on a one-year, $18 million deal, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 4, 2019
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.