LHP Drew Smyly, Braves agree to $11 million, 1-year contract

Mon Nov 16 2:17pm ET
By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer

San Francisco Giants pitcher Drew Smyly pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the third inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)


ATLANTA (AP) Left-hander Drew Smyly became the first of the 181 free agents to switch teams when he agreed Monday to an $11 million, one-year contract on Monday with the Atlanta Braves, who are looking to bolster a rotation that depleted by injuries and disappointing performances.

The 31-year-old pitched seven games last season for the San Francisco Giants, making five starts. He went 0-1 with a 3.42 ERA.

Smyly earned a $1,481,481 prorated base salary from an original $4 million, plus roster and performance bonuses.

Smyly adds depth and experience to an Atlanta rotation led by Max Fried, who finished fifth in the NL Cy Young Award voting, and rookie sensation Ian Anderson. The Braves also are counting on the return of Mike Soroka, who missed most of this past season with a torn Achilles.

The Braves hope to get more out of Smyly than they did from Cole Hamels, who signed an $18-million, one-year deal for 2020 that wound up as $6,666,667 prorated. He wound up pitching only one game because of injuries and missed the entire playoffs.

Atlanta also had to deal with former All-Star Mike Foltynewicz suffering a mysterious drop in velocity that resulted in him being farmed out after making only one start.

Despite their starting pitching woes, the Braves won their third straight NL East title and reached the league Championship Series, losing in seven games to the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers after squandering a 3-1 lead.

Smyly missed two full seasons after undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery, returning in 2019 to split time between Texas and Philadelphia, He combined to go 4-7 with a 6.24 ERA in 21 starts and 25 appearances overall.

Smyly began his career in Detroit, was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014 and has bounced around to several teams since his injury. His best season was 2014, when he went 9-10 with 3.24 ERA in 25 starts.

Coming back from his injury, the lefty was released by both the Rangers and the Milwaukee Brewers before a promising return to form last year with the Giants. Most notably, he had 42 strikeouts in 26.1 innings and surrendered just three hits in 36 at-bats (.083) to left-handed hitters.

Smyly has a career record of 35-35 with a 4.13 ERA.

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry

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