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.

Cubs, RHP Taillon reportedly agree to 4-year contract

jameson taillon
Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — The Chicago Cubs have added Jameson Taillon to their rotation, agreeing to a four-year contract with the right-hander that is worth roughly $68 million.

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

The Cubs haven’t formally announced the move, but President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer said the team has been looking at Taillon for a long time.

“I think he’s a really good starting pitcher,” Hoyer said at baseball’s winter meetings in San Diego. “He’s been really consistent. I think he’s continued to get better as he’s gotten healthier in his career. I think he’s showed the promise he had.”

The 31-year-old Taillon is coming off a solid season with the New York Yankees, going 14-5 with a 3.91 ERA. He matched his career high with 32 starts and worked 177 1/3 innings, his best total since he logged 191 innings in 2018.

The move puts Taillon back in the NL Central after he began his career with Pittsburgh. Taillon made his major league debut in 2016 and went 29-24 with a 3.67 ERA in 82 starts in his first four seasons with the Pirates.

Taillon missed the 2020 season after he had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow for a second time. He was traded to the Yankees in January 2021 for four prospects.

“Since he’s been healthy, beginning with the Yankees, I think he’s pitched really well,” Hoyer said. “Yeah, I think there’s still more in the tank. But obviously we’re excited to get him. He’s a guy we targeted at the beginning of the offseason.”

Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft, moves into a rotation that also includes Marcus Stroman, who finalized a $71 million, three-year contract last December. Kyle Hendricks is hoping to return to form after he missed the last part of the season with shoulder trouble.

Chicago went 74-88 this year and finished third in the NL Central. But it went 40-31 in its last 71 games. The rotation had a 2.89 ERA after the All-Star break, third in the majors behind the Astros (2.70) and Dodgers (2.73).

The Cubs also got Cody Bellinger on Tuesday, agreeing to a $17.5 million, one-year contract with the 2019 NL MVP. Bellinger figures to play center field, but he also could get some work at first base.

The team could add another starting pitcher, and it is monitoring the shortstop market.

“Really glad with the two guys that we are able to potentially come to an agreement with while we’re here,” Hoyer said. “And obviously a lot of offseason left.”