The Braves wanted to add a veteran to their rotation. They landed a former familiar foe Tuesday.
Left-hander Cole Hamels and the Braves agreed to a one-year, $18 million deal on Wednesday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution confirmed. The contract was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Hamels, who turns 36 later this month, produced a 3.81 ERA with 143 strikeouts against 56 walks last season for the Cubs. He pitched 141-1/3 innings after being limited by an oblique strain, failing to log over 190 innings for only the second time in 10 seasons.
Before the strain, Hamels was brilliant. He owned a 2.98 ERA across 17 starts. When he returned over a month later, he posted a 5.79 ERA over his final 10 outings.
It had been reported Hamels was intrigued by a short-term deal with a contender. Some speculated that a return to the National League East, be it with the Phillies, Braves or Nationals, made sense.
Hamels made a name for himself in Philadelphia, where he pitched from 2006 through part of 2015. He was a three-time All-Star for the Phillies, winning NLCS and World Series MVP honors in 2008.
The Braves lost two veterans in their rotation when Dallas Keuchel hit free agency and the club declined its option on Julio Teheran. Hamels fills part of that void and brings championship experience.
Hamels wasn’t attached to a qualifying offer, meaning the Braves didn’t relinquish a pick for signing him.
It hasn’t been a quiet offseason for the Braves, who already had signed relievers Will Smith, Chris Martin and Darren O’Day and catcher Travis d’Arnaud before the Hamels deal. The team has spent over $45 million for 2020 salary in free agency.
The Braves will continue to explore pitching upgrades, but filling their third-base hole now is the clearest need.