Drew Smyly, San Francisco Giants. (Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
The Atlanta Braves have made some moves this offseason with the hopes of winning it all.
2020 was kind to the Atlanta Braves, as they won two postseason series and came up one win short of finally getting back to the World Series.
Pitching issues and a lack of deep postseason experience finally caught up with them. However, the Braves are one of a handful of teams in the National League certainly capable of winning the pennant this season. Atlanta is the three-time defending NL East champion, but have the Braves done enough this offseason to make sure that it will be certainly four in a row for them in 2021?
3 best offseason moves for Atlanta Braves
LHP Atlanta Braves
All he has to do is be better than Cole Hamels was last season
Last year’s Braves team had a glaring weakness with the starting rotation. Once Mike Soroka ruptured his Achilles’ tendon, it was Max Fried and a bunch of guys, or at least until rookie Ian Anderson came along in September and October. So it was paramount for the Braves to address the starting rotation this spring. The first of two signings we will touch on is the Drew Smyly deal.
Smyly is a your prototypical crafty left-hander. He has seven years worth of big league experience, spending the 2020 MLB season with the San Francisco Giants. Though the Giants were not a playoff team last year, Smyly did put together one of his better seasons. He had a 3.42 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 26.1 innings pitched. His ERA+ of 126 was his best mark since the 2016 season.
While Smyly is by no means a frontline starter at this point of his career, he provides depth to a rotation that was in dire need of it. If he becomes the Braves’ fourth or fifth stater, that would be fantastic. Ultimately, if he can do more than just throw three innings in an entire season like his predecessor Cole Hamels did, then this would be a positive signing for the Braves this offseason.
With Smyly coming in as the third most important offseason move the Braves have made, it signifies how quiet Atlanta’s offseason has been up to this point. Bringing back relief pitcher and spot-starter Josh Tomlin was the other candidate for this No. 3 spot. However, there is a tad more intrigue involving Smyly simply because he is a new starting pitcher not named Cole Hamels.