The Braves’ busy offseason continues.
On Wednesday, Atlanta signed veteran leftist Cole Hamels to a $ 18 million pact, ESPN’s Jeff Passan says.
When it’s official, the signing will mark the Braves’ third major move this offseason, following Will Smith’s ink on a $ 39 million three-year deal and Travis d’Arnaud’s $ 16 million contract. They also brought Nick Markakis, Chris Martin and Darren O’Day.
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Hamels is coming off a good season with the Cubs, going up 2.5 fWAR in 141 2/3 innings, with a 3.81 ERA etched on the baseball card, which is a good enough number for this stage of his career.
The signing means the Braves are not particularly reliant on their laurels with two straight NL East wins. The way Atlanta fell to the NLDS against the Cardinals was pretty annoying and they recognize it.
The signing of Hamels also means the Braves didn’t make the same mistake earlier this year when they waited until the 2019 MLB draft in June to sign Dallas Keuchel for the rest of the season. the Cubs didn’t extend the qualifying offer to him – but for a team that finished at the top of the NL East two seasons in a row, that’s an encouraging sign.
The Braves are smart to stay busy this offseason as well. While two of their three plates were not splashy – Hamels and catcher Travis d’Arnaud – they did not wait until the trade deadline to reinforce the bullpen and support the holes early in the process. They are not going to wait until the MLB Draft to sign a starter who probably should have signed six months earlier.
Opening their wallets a little more was a remarkable change in philosophy for the Braves, but in 2020 it should no longer be for the NL East titles and should be for the rings of the World Series. The front office of Atlanta should not hit its back, shake hands and send “Christmas cards” that work well after some early reinforcement.
Madison Bumgarner should still be on board. A reunion with Josh Donaldson would also make a lot of sense. Basket reinforcements will not have to go through. Signing Hamels is a good move to fill out an otherwise good roster, but winter is just starting – and so should their work.