The Braves have reached a deal to bring Josh Tomlin back for the 2021 season, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. The deal is worth just $1M for next year, with an option for 2022 at $1.25M with a $250K buyout.
Tomlin, who just turned 36, spent the last two seasons with the Braves eating valuable innings predominately out of the bullpen. He was effective yet again in the shortened season with a 4.76 ERA, 4.02 FIP and better-than-expected strikeout numbers. He is who he is at this stage in his career — a versatile innings eater who can save the bullpen and even make a spot start if called upon.
Perhaps more importantly than his on-field contributions, Tomlin has served as a valuable member of the Braves’ clubhouse while working with young pitchers on the roster. Earlier this summer, Tomlin encouraged Kyle Wright to change where he stands on the pitching rubber and the results were immediate. Wright would go on to pitch well in the final weeks of September and in his first playoff start in Game 3 of the NLDS, tossing six shutout innings against Miami.
Tomlin also worked with reliever A.J. Minter during the COVID shutdown, tossing bullpen sessions while in Texas. Minter emerged as one of the Braves’ best relief options after a lost 2019 season.
For the low price tag, off-field bonuses and need for a reliever who can eat multiple innings, the addition of Tomlin is a solid start to the Braves’ offseason.
UPDATE - The Braves have officially announced the move.