MLB free agency: Braves ink Drew Smyly to one-year deal worth $11 million

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The Atlanta Braves have signed free-agent starting pitcher Drew Smyly to a one-year, $11 million deal, the club announced on Monday. Smyly, a 31-year-old left-hander, was 0-1 with a 3.42 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 42 strikeouts against nine walks in 26 1/3 innings last season for the Giants

He started five games and went in relief in two other appearances. A few seasons removed from Tommy John surgery, Smyly’s strikeout rate was among the best in baseball. In fact, if we sorted for pitchers with at least five starts, Smyly’s strikeout percentage (37.8) and K/9 were No. 1 in baseball. 

The Braves will now look for Smyly to build on his impressive 2020 season, likely as part of their rotation. 

To start the season, the Braves look to have Max Fried, a returning Mike Soroka, Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright in their rotation. Should Smyly stick, that makes five. Some other options at this point would be Bryse Wilson, Touki Toussaint, Huascar Ynoa and Sean Newcomb

The Braves won the NL East in 2020 for the third straight season and advanced to Game 7 of the NLCS before losing to the eventual World Series champion Dodgers

In other news, Smyly getting $11 million should bode well for the rest of the free-agent pitching class. This offseason was expected, and still is, to be a pretty tepid market for free agents. We have Smyly ranked 54th in this free agency class and though just a one-year deal isn’t great, the $11 million for a back-rotation starter isn’t too bad at all. 

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