Atlanta Braves taking an expensive flier on Drew Smyly

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 27: Drew Smyly #18 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park on September 27, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 27: Drew Smyly #18 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park on September 27, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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The Atlanta Braves have made another quietly solid move to bolster their pitching staff as they have signed Drew Smyly to a one year deal.

The Atlanta Braves were expected to target pitching this offseason, especially after what happened last year. While top prospect Ian Anderson stepped up, the Braves myriad of injuries put a spotlight on how much they needed to add more depth, and another top of the rotation arm, to their pitching staff. Even as teams look to cut costs, Atlanta could have a busy offseason.

On Monday, the Braves made a move to address that rotation depth. They have signed Drew Smyly to a one year deal worth $11 million.

Smyly had a decent showing in 2020, although he only made seven appearances for the Giants. He posted a 3.42 ERA and a 1.101 WHiP over his 20.2 innings, striking out 42 batters with nine walks. When he was on the mound, he was dominant.

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But that caveat has followed Smyly around throughout his time in the majors. He only has two seasons where he threw more than 150 innings, and missed the 2017 and 2018 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. However, now that the procedure is that far in his rearview mirror, Smyly should be healthy.

Smyly is also a bit of a wild card for Atlanta. He could fill in as a solid back of the rotation arm with a great deal of upside as long as he can remain on the mound. Likewise, Smyly’s arsenal could make him a dominant late inning arm out of the bullpen, potentially minimizing the Braves need to add to the rotation.

It all comes down to Smyly’s health. He is the ultimate lottery ticket – a pitcher that could produce ace caliber numbers if he can stay on the mound. That is the question, and one that the Braves will be paying $11 million to learn the answer to.

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The Atlanta Braves are taking a chance on Drew Smyly. For that price tag, they are hoping that they can catch lightning in a bottle.