Just In: Braves sign 2 players to one-year, non-guaranteed deals…

Braves sign Penn Murfee, Jackson Stephens to one-year, non-guaranteed deals.

Atlanta is bringing back reliever Penn Murfee on a major league deal after non-tendering him earlier this month.

The Atlanta Braves continue to fill out their bullpen depth. The team announced Wednesday night that they have agreed to non-guaranteed split contracts with Penn Murfee and Jackson Stephens.

The Braves claimed Murfee off of waivers on November 14, but non-tendered him three days later. He underwent surgery last July to repair damage to his UCL. He likely won’t be ready to pitch until at some point around mid-season. Prior to the injury, Murfee was a valuable relief arm for the Mariners posting a 2.70 ERA while appearing in 80 games over the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

Stephens returns for his third season with the Braves. He was a valuable contributor out of the bullpen in 2022 when he appeared in 39 games while putting up a 3.69 ERA and a 3.54 FIP. He was slowed by injuries in 2023 which limited him to just five games at the major league level.

Read More: Pierce Johnson makes pitch to Shohei Ohtani to join Braves.

MLB: AUG 28 Angels at Phillies

Alex Anthopoulos certainly isn’t sitting on his hands this offseason; in fact, the Braves are big game hunting.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the club is involved in negotiations with the White Sox for Dylan Cease, who is the most desirable starter on the trade market because he’s under team control for a couple of years.

It’s not just surface-level interest either because Jon Morosi just recently reported that Atlanta is considered a “finalist” for Cease. This comes after a reported offer to Aaron Nola for $162 million over six years, which would’ve been the richest free agent contract in Braves franchise history.

Anthopoulos isn’t messing around this Winter, and the biggest of the fish — Shohei Ohtani — isn’t as unfathomable as once considered.

Ohtani is reportedly “intrigued” by the idea of playing for the Braves, per Jon Morosi, and former general manager Steve Phillips added that Atlanta is a realistic landing spot because of his interest in playing for a contender.

There’s no club better set up to compete year in and year out for championships quite like the Atlanta Braves. If that’s the Japanese unicorn’s chief priority, he knows where to come, but if he doesn’t, Pierce Johnson pitched him exactly why he should join the Braves.

Landing Shohei Ohtani is much more unlikely than Dylan Cease because the Braves have never been a team to hand out a mega contract like the one Ohtani will garner.

However, he could be the exception. The Braves are a publically traded company, and if anyone can see the value he brings, it’s Terry McGuirk, who gives Anthopoulos his budget.

Shohei Ohtani is virtually his own economy. He brings a nation of fans wherever he goes and will pay for himself. It’s not likely, but it’s not as impossible as some Braves fans might think.

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