Braves agree to 1-year deal with former Rays closer Anderson

November 12th, 2022

ATLANTA -- The Braves began building bullpen depth, agreeing with right-hander Nick Anderson on a one-year, non-guaranteed split deal, the team announced on Friday night.

Anderson will make a rate of $875,000 if he's in the Majors and a rate of $185,000 if he's in the Minors, a source told The 32-year-old has missed most of the past two seasons, but he was one of the game’s most dominant relievers before his elbow began bothering him in 2021.

Anderson missed most of the '21 season, then underwent an internal brace procedure (a Tommy John surgery alternative) to repair a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament on Oct. 21, 2021. His velocity was down as he made 19 Minor League appearances this past season, but his elbow appears healthy. Anderson ended the season on the 60-day injured list because of plantar fasciitis.

This is a low-risk, high-reward gamble for the Braves. Anderson posted a 2.11 ERA over 23 appearances for the Rays in 2019, and produced a 0.55 ERA over 19 appearances during the shortened '20 season. He recorded 67 strikeouts and issued only five walks over the 37 2/3 innings he totaled for the Rays during the '19 and '20 seasons.

Raisel Iglesias, A.J. Minter and Collin McHugh are the top relievers currently set to be back in Atlanta’s bullpen next year. Dylan Lee and Jackson Stephens also provided value this past season. There’s always a chance Jesse Chavez returns. But the Braves need the kind of high-quality value they could get from Anderson.

If Anderson and Kirby Yates both bounce back from their recent elbow issues and return to form in 2023, the Braves could have a special bullpen. Atlanta signed Yates to a two-year, $8.25 million deal last winter knowing that he likely wouldn’t be back at full strength before the '23 season arrived.