Left handed Cole Hamels, one of the Braves’ offseason key acquisitions, dealt with shoulder irritation during the first version of spring training a few months ago. If it weren’t for the coronavirus camp forcing it to close, and if the regular season had started as scheduled, Hamels wouldn’t have been ready to open 2020 in the Braves’ rotation. However, that is no longer the case. With the season now on track to open in a month, Hamels should be part of Atlanta’s initial staff from the get-go, CEO Alex Anthopoulos said Wednesday (via Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
The Braves signed Hamels with a one-year, $ 18MM contract over the winter in hopes of helping them fill in the gaps they left. Dallas Keuchel and Julio Tehrancapable, ticket eaters who set out in free agency. Hamels, 36, has a long and successful career as a workhorse in his own right, having pitched at least 200 innings in eight different seasons. However, injuries slowed Hamels last year as a member of the Cubs, with whom he racked up 141 2/3 frames (the second-lowest figure of his career) and posted a 3.81 / 4.09 FIP ERA with 9.08 K / 9 and 3.56 BB / 9)
While Hamels no longer appears to be the starting starter he was at his prime, there’s nothing to suggest that he won’t give reigning NL East champions a respectable production this year. Except for any injuries during Spring Training 2.0, you will join Mike Soroka, Max Fried and Mike Foltynewicz like locks on Atlanta staff. However, fifth place is less safe Felix Hernández, Kyle Wright and Sean Newcomb they were all candidates for the role before the game’s abrupt halt.
Regardless of what the Braves ‘season opener rotation looks like, Anthopoulos said he expects them to be conservative with their headlines’ workloads for at least a couple of innings, by Burns. That could mean appearances ranging from two to four innings early in the season.