Braves add veteran pitcher Cole Hamels for 1 year, $18 million US

Left-hander Cole Hamels agreed to a one-year, $18-million contract with the Atlanta Braves, one of the more active teams of the off-season.

The 35-year-old gives the Braves a veteran to replace Julio Teheran, who became a free agent after his $12 million team option was declined.

Hamels joins Calgary-born Mike Soroka, 22, Max Fried, 25 and Mike Foltynewicz, 28, as the Braves’probable top four starters. Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos said recently that left-hander Sean Newcomb, who spent most of the 2019 season in the bullpen, will be given a chance to win a starting job in spring training.

Among other contenders for the final spot in the rotation will be Kyle Wright, Bryse Wilson and Ian Anderson, one of the team’s top prospects.

Hamels spent the last two seasons with the Chicago Cubs, going 7-7 with a 3.81 earned-run average in 27 starts last season.

Atlanta signs 4 others

Hamels has 163 wins and a 3.42 ERA in 14 seasons. He began his career with Philadelphia, where he was a three-time all-star in 10 seasons.

He finished fifth in the National League Cy Young Award voting for the Phillies in 2011, when he was 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA. He was 17-6 with a 3.05 ERA in 2012.

Atlanta has given left-handed reliever Will Smith, a possible closer, a $40 million, three-year contract and added catcher Travis d’Arnaud for a $16 million, two-year deal.

The Braves also re-signed four players: outfielder Nick Markakis, catcher Tyler Flowers and relievers Darren O’Day and Chris Martin.

Wheeler stays in NL East

Right-hander Zack Wheeler and the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to a five-year contract worth $118 million US, two people familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.

Both people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement, which is subject to a successful physical, had not been announced.

The 29-year-old Wheeler stays in the NL East after spending his first seven seasons with the New York Mets. He was 11-8 with a 3.96 ERA last season after going 12-7 with a 3.31 ERA in 2018. Wheeler missed the 2015 and 2016 seasons following Tommy John surgery.

He will join a rotation led by Aaron Nola that also includes Jake Arrieta. The Phillies may pursue another starter to join a staff that has Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta.

Wheeler is 44-38 with a 3.77 ERA in 126 starts. He has 726 strikeouts in 749 1/3 innings.

Bundy heading west to Anaheim

The Baltimore Orioles traded right-hander Dylan Bundy to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for four minor league pitchers, according to multiple reports.

MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal said prospect Isaac Mattson was among them.

Bundy, 27, was 7-14 with a 4.79 ERA in 30 starts in 2019, striking out 162 batters in 161 2/3 innings.

Picked fourth overall in the 2011 draft by Baltimore, Bundy went 23-15 in his first two full seasons (2016-17) but just 15-30 in the past two campaigns.

His career record is 38-45 with a 4.67 ERA in 127 games (103 starts) with 602 strikeouts in 614 1/3 innings.

Mattson, a 24-year-old right-hander, pitched at three levels in the minors in 2019 and compiled a 6-3 record with a 2.33 ERA in 37 relief appearances. He struck out 110 batters in 73 1/3 innings, a rate of 13.5 Ks per nine innings.