Injured Tyler Matzek signs 2-year, $3.1M deal with Braves

Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
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ATLANTA — Even though Tyler Matzek will miss the entire 2023 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, the Atlanta Braves have re-signed the reliever to a two-year, $3.1 million contract.

The deal also includes $5.5 million club option for 2025 with no buyout.

Matzek appeared in 42 games for the Braves in 2022, going 4-2 with a 3.50 ERA and his first career save. The 32-year-old left-hander dealt with elbow pain late in the season and was left off the NL East champion’s postseason roster.

Matzek underwent the Tommy John procedure on Oct. 12, which will keep him out for 12 to 18 months.

A first-round pick by Colorado, Matzek pitched a couple of seasons with the Rockies as a starter beginning in 2014.

But his career appeared over after he went four full seasons without appearing in the big leagues. He even spent time with the Texas AirHogs in the independent American Associaton, hoping to earn another chance.

Matzek finally got it with the Braves in 2020, quickly establishing himself a key middle reliever on a team that reached the NL Championship Series.

In 2021, he helped Atlanta win its first World Series title in 26 years, going 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA over 13 postseason appearances.

Phillies, RHP Taijuan Walker reportedly agree to 4-year deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – The active Philadelphia Phillies added Taijuan Walker to their rotation on Tuesday, agreeing to a $72 million, four-year contract with the right-hander.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

It was the second major free-agent score for the Phillies at the winter meetings after they reeled in shortstop Trea Turner on Monday with a $300 million, 11-year deal. Walker and Turner join a Phillies team that made it to the World Series this year before losing to the Houston Astros.

The 30-year-old Walker went 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts this season for the New York Mets, one of Philadelphia’s biggest NL East rivals. He slots into a rotation fronted by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

The Phillies recently lost pitcher Zach Eflin in free agency to Tampa Bay.

Asked about the market for Walker earlier in the day, agent Scott Boras said it was robust.

“As you can see in the marketplace, there’s a whole number of pitchers that are throwing 60 and 70 innings that have been pursued, probably with the exception of (Jacob) deGrom, at the lower end of threshold around $13-15 million a year because the demand for quality pitching is so great,” Boras said.

“So, Tai … is one of the younger ones, one of the more durable ones and we expect him to be pursued greatly as his market unfolds.”

Walker was selected by Seattle with the No. 43 pick in the 2010 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2013.

Walker signed with New York as a free agent in February 2021. He turned down a $7.5 million player option last month in favor of a $3 million buyout, making his deal worth $17 million over two seasons.

The 6-foot-4 Walker made the All-Star team for the first time in 2021, putting together a fast start before fading to a 7-11 record with a 4.47 ERA in 30 games, 29 starts.