The Atlanta Braves have signed left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly to a one-year contract worth $11 million. The 31-year-old posted an 0-1 record with a 3.42 ERA in five starts and two relief appearances last season for the San Francisco Giants. In his seven-year career, Smyly has a 35-35 record, 4.13 ERA, 101 ERA+, and has struck 714 batters in 710 2/3 innings.
According to David O’Brien of The Athletic, the Braves signed Smyly strictly as a starter.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) November 16, 2020
Much-Needed Depth for Rotation
Smyly will provide much-needed depth and experience for a Braves rotation that was decimated from turnover last season. He will join an Atlanta rotation that is led by lefty Max Fried, who finished fifth in the NL Cy Young Award voting, and rookie sensation Ian Anderson. The Braves are also expecting to get Mike Soroka back from an Achilles injury, which caused him to miss the majority of the 2020 campaign. A potential rotation of Fried, Anderson, Soroka, Smyly, and Kyle Wright certainly gives Atlanta a great chance at winning their fourth consecutive NL East title.
With that said, Smyly does come with an injury history, as he had Tommy John surgery in 2017 and spent most of the 2018 season recovering. The Arkansas native struggled in his first season back in 2019. He proceeded to post a 4-7 record with a 6.24 ERA in 21 starts and four relief appearances with the Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies. However, the Braves will hope that he can replicate last season’s success when he limited opposing hitters to a .198/.261/.297 line and struck out 42 batters in 26 1/3 innings.
Atlanta will hope this deal works out better than last season’s signing of left-handed starter Cole Hamels. Hamels signed a one-year, $18 million contract for 2020 but only pitched one game because of injuries and missed the entire playoffs.
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