The Braves have been frustratingly quiet since signing Charlie Morton to a one-year deal before Thanksgiving. The only moves they’ve made over the last two-plus months have been minor — ones that likely won’t impact the direction of the season. However, the acquisition they made today of Carl Edwards Jr. is intriguing, and it could be Alex Anthopoulos’ next diamond in the rough signing that ends up helping the bullpen in a major way.
Edwards Jr. offers a lot more than just a classic name; he was actually an unbelievably reliable reliever a few years ago, beginning in his rookie season as a 24-year-old with the Cubs, as he posted a 3.75 ERA over 26 relief appearances. Edwards Jr. then topped those numbers the following year with a 2.98 ERA in 73 appearances before putting together the best year of his career in 2018, boasting a 2.60 ERA over 58 appearances. Then things took a turn for the worst.
Edwards Jr. had a miserable 2019 campaign, leading to a demotion to AAA, and he was eventually traded before being released. The Mariners picked him up prior to last season, and it didn’t take long for him to look like the guy who became an ultra-dependable reliever for the Cubs. He allowed just one run over five appearances (4.2 innings, 1.93 ERA) with a K/9 of 11.6. Unfortunately, that success was short-lived. Edwards Jr. was placed on the 10-day IL in August with forearm tightness and never returned.
The 29-year-old right-hander has a strict two-pitch mix consisting of a fastball in the low to mid-90s and a curveball, but it’s been enough to keep hitters off-balance his entire career. Edwards Jr. boasts a career 12.1 K/9. He’ll have a lot of competition if he wants to carve out a role in Atlanta; however, if a couple of injuries emerge, which is bound to happen at some point over a 162-game schedule, he’ll get his opportunity to prove he belongs in the majors again.
Photo: Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire
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