July 28, 2021

Adding Cole Hamels latest sign Braves mean business this offseason (ESPN)

Give Atlanta Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos credit for acting quickly and decisively in the offseason while many of his peers wait out the market hoping for bargain-basement deals. A year ago, he signed Josh Donaldson in late November to a one-year contract while other top free agents didn’t sign until spring training had started. This year, Anthopoulos has added free-agent left-hander Cole Hamels on a one-year contract, according to reports, in addition to previously signing Giants closer Will Smith, re-signing reliever Chris Martin and signing former Rays catcher Travis d’Arnaud.

It has been a sneakily active offseason for the Braves — and what could be a very effective one as they push for a third straight NL East title after winning 97 games in 2019. The free-agent game isn’t as simple as identifying potential targets and offering fair-market contracts. You have to close the deals. If you wait too long on one player, your backup plan may end up signing with another team. There’s a clear advantage to locking up the player you want as early as possible.

Hamels will turn 36 this month, but he hasn’t lost all that much from his peak days with the Phillies,…

Read “Adding Cole Hamels latest sign Braves mean business this offseason” at ESPN