The Braves have agreed to a minor league contract with reliever Adam Kolarek, as reflected on the MLB.com transaction log. The veteran southpaw had recently elected free agency after being waived by the Mets.
Kolarek had split the 2023 campaign between the Dodgers and Mets. He has made five MLB appearances, working six scoreless innings. Kolarek has spent the bulk of the season in Triple-A, pitching 35 1/3 innings of 2.55 ERA ball. He has a roughly league average 23% strikeout rate in that time but has walked an uncharacteristic 13.5% of opposing hitters.
Now 34, Kolarek has pitched in parts of seven big league seasons. He was a quietly effective lefty specialist early in his career with the Rays and Dodgers. His performance over the past few seasons has been more mixed, as he struggled for Oakland between 2021-22 before this year’s small-sample success. The sidearmer doesn’t throw hard and has struggled mightily against right-handed hitters, but he’s held lefty swingers to a .184/.234/.250 line in his major league career.
By signing him before September 1, the Braves keep open the possibility of Kolarek factoring into their playoff picture. Players only need to be in an organization by the end of August to be eligible for the postseason. Even players who aren’t on the 40-man roster at the start of September can get onto the playoff roster via application to the league office for an exemption to replace an injured player, which happens a few times each year.
In the interim, the Braves can keep Kolarek at Triple-A Gwinnett as they evaluate their bullpen before October. A.J. Minter and Brad Hand are the two southpaws currently in Brian Snitker’s relief corps.