The Atlanta Braves remain busy as they continue to make splashes in free agency before other teams have even lifted a finger. The club announced they have signed right-handed reliever Chris Martin to a two-year deal. The pact includes $14 million in guaranteed money, which will be paid out evenly between 2020 and 2022.
Martin, now 33, was acquired by Atlanta at the trade deadline from the Texas Rangers in exchange for pitching prospect, Kolby Allard. Martin had a 3.40 ERA between the two teams over 58 appearances for a total of 55.2 innings, allowing 23 runs on 52 hits (including nine homers) while striking out 65 batters and walking just five. It’s fair to say that Martin pitched better in Texas than in Atlanta in 2019, but he still managed to turn in a solid second half. Most notably, of course, is the walks statistics, as his five walks equate to a 0.81 walks-per-nine-innings rate, which was the best in baseball among all qualifying relievers. Yusmeiro Petit ranked second in that category and was nearly a whopping three-tenths behind Martin with a 1.08 mark.
Of the four free agents who have signed big-league deals this offseason, Atlanta has been the team involved in three of them, inking deals with Darren O’Day, Will Smith, and now Martin. (The fourth player is Adam Wainwright, who re-upped with the Cardinals.)
Martin was one of three major bullpen acquisitions the Braves made at the trade deadline, when they also dealt for Shane Greene and Mark Melancon. The Braves have clearly been needing some pitching help for a while, and between their mid-season push to make trades and their sudden speed in free agency, it’s obvious they’re putting their money where their mouth is as they improve their arms ahead of the 2020 season.