The Braves have avoided arbitration with lefty Rex Brothers, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It is a non-guaranteed deal, per the report.
MLBTR had not considered Brothers as an arb-eligible player owing to a club option, but O’Brien says the team was able to tender him a contract after declining that option. The end result will seemingly be somewhat similar, as Brothers will receive a split contract that pays him at a $1.1MM rate for time spent in the majors and a $450K rate for time spent in the minors, per ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (via Twitter). (That’s an unusually healthy payday on the minor-league side, it’s worth noting.)
Brothers is still optionable for the coming season, as Olney notes, which helps explain his appeal. He’s also still fairly youthful — he’ll turn 30 in a few weeks — and showed an average 95.8 mph fastball in the majors last year, representing a bounce back to his early-career heat after he experienced some shoulder woes. Similarly, Brothers managed a 13.3% whiff rate that hearkened back to his 2011-13 levels, when Brothers was a healthy and effective reliever for the Rockies.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether Brothers will be able to stay healthy and continue to avoid the free passes that have plagued him in recent seasons. He averaged 4.6 BB/9 to go with a healthy 12.6 K/9 in 23 2/3 innings in 2017. That’s not exactly a desirable walk tally, but is at least in the same range he once worked in better years. Brothers did also cough up 7.23 earned runs per nine on the season, though that’s likely due in large part to some sequencing misfortune and a few too many run-ins with righty hitters. He mowed down southpaw swingers, though, as he has done for much of his career.