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?