The Atlanta Braves signed left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly to a one-year deal worth $11 million on Monday.
Welcome to Atlanta, Drew!#ForTheA pic.twitter.com/J6B43F7sas
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) November 16, 2020
Smyly was 0-1 with a 3.42 ERA and 42 strikeouts in five starts and two relief appearances with the San Francisco Giants this year. He had a career-best 37.8 percent strikeout rate and 14.35 strikeouts per nine innings, the highest strikeout-per-nine rate of any pitcher who made at least five starts in 2020. For his career, Smyly is 35-35 with a 4.13 ERA and has accumulated 714 strikeouts.
“This is an upside play, no doubt about it,” Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “Obviously, we’ll find out eight months from now, 10 months from now how it worked out. But we think Drew has tremendous upside. He’s only scratched the surface.”
Anthopoulos added, “We feel like he’s just about to really emerge to have the best years of his career. Once we made that determination, we signed him to a healthy, strong deal. Hopefully all sides will win and he’ll have a great year.”
Smyly will add much needed depth to the Braves rotation. He joins a starting group that includes Max Fried, Ian Anderson , and Kyle Wright. Atlanta had to rely heavily on those three in the postseason, so adding depth was a necessity. Mike Soroka could be back next year after missing the majority of this season with a torn Achilles tendon which would also be an uplift for the team.
The Braves won their third-straight NL East title and reached the League Championship Series this season before losing to the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. With the addition of Smyly and the return of Soroka, the Braves are eyeing a World Series run of their own next season.
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