3:13pm: Outman’s deal guarantees him $925K and allows him to earn an additional $475K via performance bonuses, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo.
2:34pm: The Braves announced today that they have signed left-hander Josh Outman to a one-year, Major League deal. The team also officially announced A.J. Pierzynski’s one-year deal and Jason Grilli’s two-year pact, both of which had been previously reported. Outman is a client of Turner Gary Sports.
The 30-year-old Outman posted a 2.86 ERA with 8.3 K/9 but a more troubling 5.1 BB/9 in 28 1/3 innings between the Indians and Yankees last season. Those control problems were a bit uncharacteristic for Outman, however, as he entered the season with a lifetime 3.6 BB/9 rate in 246 innings of work.
Outman registered a 53.9 percent ground-ball rate in 2014 — the highest mark of his career. If he can repeat that feat while rediscovering his previous command, his peripheral stats — he had just a 4.83 FIP and 4.18 xFIP in 2014 — should rebound, and a strong ERA is a definite possibility. Outman gives Atlanta skipper Fredi Gonzalez a particularly potent weapon against left-handed hitters, as he’s held same-handed opponents to a minuscule .186/.254/.283 batting line in 413 career plate appearances. And, as a bonus to Atlanta, he has just four years, 155 days of Major League service time. In other words, if Outman performs well, he can be controlled through the 2016 season via arbitration.
Outman will join James Russell and Luis Avilan as a third left-handed option to bridge the gap from the rotation to lights-out closer Craig Kimbrel. He and Grilli will join reclamation project Jim Johnson as newcomers to an Atlanta bullpen that also features Shae Simmons and possibly Arodys Vizcaino. By and large, it should be a new-look group in the Atlanta bullpen, as the team has parted with excellent setup men Jordan Walden and David Carpenter in separate trades this winter.