Cole Hamels, Atlanta Braves agree to one-year, $18 million contract
Atlanta has added a veteran lefty starter to boost its rotation
The Atlanta Braves have signed free-agent pitcher Cole Hamels to a one-year deal worth $18 million, the team announced Wednesday afternoon. Hamels, who turns 36 later this month, finished the 2019 season with a 7-7 record and a 3.81 ERA in 27 starts (141 2/3 innings) for the Cubs. The left-hander averaged 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings to go along with 3.6 walks per nine.
The Cubs declined to give Hamels a $17.8 million qualifying offer earlier this offseason. CBS Sports ranked Hamels as theon the market this offseason.
The four-time All-Star missed the entire month of July last season with an oblique strain. Hamels struggled to return to form when he returned in August, posting a 5.79 ERA in 42 innings in the last two months of the season, compared to the 2.98 ERA he posted in the 99 2/3 innings he pitched during the first half of the season.
Hamels, who was drafted No. 17 overall by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2002, helped lead Philadelphia to a World Series title in 2008 where he was named MVP of the Fall Classic. He'll likely face his former team multiple times in 2020 in a what's shaping up to be another intriguing season in the NL East. Hamels was traded by the Phillies to the Rangers in 2015 and then was dealt to the Cubs in 2018.
While Hamels is obviously not at his peak, he'll provide a stable option on the mound for Atlanta. In Hamels' last two seasons (age-34 and 35), he's posted ERAs of 3.78 and 3.81 while striking out 23.3 percent and 23.2 percent of batters. With Hamels joining the Braves rotation, Atlanta receives a veteran presence to pitch alongside youngsters Mike Soroka, Mike Foltynewicz and Max Fried.
The Braves have been busy this offseason. They signed catcher Travis d'Arnaud to a , Nick Markakis and brought back catcher Tyler Flowers. Atlanta also re-signed relievers Darren O'Day and Chris Martin, and signed one of the top relievers available this winter, left-hander Will Smith, to a .
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