Atlanta Braves Sign Free Agent Left Handed Reliever George Sherrill

From the baseball Winter Meetings, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick has the scoop:

Lefty reliever George Sherrill is closing in on a deal with the Atlanta Braves, according to a baseball source

Sherrill would satisfy the Braves desire to add another veteran left-handed reliever to their bullpen. Sherrill is a former closer and a former All-Star when he was with the Orioles. He's spent the last year and a half with the Dodgers.

He is mainly a fastball pitcher, who mixes in a slider from time to time. He used to throw a change-up and curve ball, but over the years he has abandoned those pitches. His fastball was hit hard last year, but that could have been a product of luck, as he posted an unusually high BABIP-against of .352. That's more than 50 points above his career average, so he'll likely come back down to earth eventually.

The Braves have a good track record of properly using veteran left-handed relievers, so Sherrill could flourish in Atlanta. The team has also had a decent track record of getting pitchers to rediscover their once-discarded pitches. Sherrill had a pretty effective curve and change-up before he scrapped them in 2009. The Braves will need to use him primarily as a LOOGY, and it should be more successful if they do.

While it was for the Orioles, I like his closing experience (though I don't think he's a closer option in the least for Atlanta). He's also a former Mariner, and the Braves have had excellent luck with former Mariner relievers (O'Flaherty, Soriano). A good veteran to add to the bullpen mix. Well done.

[UPDATE 4:30pm]

The Braves have officially signed Sherrill (pending a physical) to a one-year $1.2 million contract, with $200,000 in performance incentives. Good move by the Braves. They don't overpay for a veteran LOOGY with a lot of upside.

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