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Cole Hamels signs a one-year deal with the Braves

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A big name just came off the free agency board: Cole Hamels, who has signed a one-year, $18 million deal with the Atlanta Braves.

Hamels, who hit free agency following the completion of a seven-year, $158 million contract, telegraphed his willingness and, apparently, his desire to sign one-year deals going forward a month ago, saying that he felt that signing such deals would keep him from “handcuffing” an organization and may allow him to play for teams heading toward the playoffs. While it’s doubtful that a multi-year deal for him, at this point in his career would, actually “handcuff” any organization, he did accomplish his goal of landing with a contender in the two-time defending NL East champion Braves.

For Atlanta, Hamels will basically take the place of Dallas Keuchel, who himself signed a one-year deal — shortened due to his not signing until June — with the Braves last year. He’ll join a rotation that, along with Mike Soroka, Mike Foltynewicz, and Max Fried, is starting to round into good shape heading into the 2020 season.

In 2019 Hamels went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA in 27 starts for the Cubs, striking out 143 and walking 56 in 141.2 innings. It was a tale of two seasons, though, really. Hamels posted a 2.98 ERA in 17 starts before he strained his oblique near the end of June, after which he also suffered from shoulder fatigue. When he came back he had a 5.79 ERA in 10 starts. That, apparently, that didn’t scare the Braves away, and they’re banking that the pre-injury Hamels is the real Hamels.

Hey, one year deal, right? What could possibly be scary about that?

Reds sign Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal

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The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a multi-year deal. That’s the report from C. Trent Rosecrans and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Jon Morosi of MLB.com was the first to report the Reds as frontrunners. The deal is pending a physical. UPDATE: The deal is four years. Financial terms have yet to be reported.

With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.

Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.

Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.