Tagged in: Chris Martin

Reliever Chris Martin back with Braves on 2 year deal

Pitcher Chris Martin and the Altanta Braves have agreed to a $14 million, two-year contract, a deal that brings back the right-hander after he closed 2019 with the club.

The 33-year-old Martin was acquired by Atlanta from the Texas Rangers for left-hander Kolby Allard at the July 31 trade deadline.

Martin was 1-1 with a 4.08 ERA in 20 games with the Braves. He had 22 strikeouts and one walk in 17 2/3 innings. It’s the third notable relief pickup of the past week for the Braves, who already snagged arguably the top reliever on the market last Thursday when signing Will Smith to a three-year, $40MM contract.

Atlanta also re-signed veteran righty Darren O’Day to a one-year, $2.25MM deal in the early stages of the offseason.

Between Smith, Martin, O’Day, Mark Melancon and Shane Greene, the Atlanta bullpen will head into the 2020 campaing as both a much more established and much more expensive collective unit than it did in 2019.

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This past season, Martin posted a career-high 95.7 mph average fastball and logged career-high marks in swinging-strike rate (12.4 percent) and opponents’ chase rate (38.3 percent). The only pitcher in baseball (min. 50 innings pitched) who boasted a lower walk percentage than Martin’s 2.3 percent mark was Atlanta teammate Josh Tomlin (2.2 percent), but Martin’s 30.1 percent strikeout rate was nearly double that of Tomlin.

The extent to which he can replicate his enormous gains in swinging-strike, chase and walk rates will determine Martin’s success in his second stint with the Braves, but there’s little denying that he was among the most appealing arms available on the market this winter.

Early in the season the Braves will continue to deploy Melancon as the club’s closer, general manager Alex Anthopoulos recomended following the signing of Smith. That should lead to a primary setup corps of Smith, Martin, Greene and O’Day, with a number of the Braves’ young arms combining to round out the bullpen mixture. 

Luke Jackson, Grant Dayton, A.J. Minter, Chad Sobotka and Jacob Webb will be among the names considered by the Atlanta brass, barring additional bullpen acquisitions and or roster moves that send some of those incumbent options elsewhere.

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