The Atlanta Braves signed Left-Handed Pitcher Tyler Matzek to a two-year contract worth $3.1 million in MLB free agency just weeks after Atlanta fell to the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Divisional Series, according to a Friday release. The deal includes a $5.5 million club option in 2025 with no buyout.
The three-year Atlanta Brave agreed to donate 1% of his agreed-upon MLB free agency salary to the Atlanta Braves Foundation, a program created in 2019 to “build community through baseball engaging Braves Country, reaching vulnerable populations, and improving equity and access in sport, health, education and well-being outcomes for children, families, and communities,” according to the foundation's website.
Tyler Matzek played in 42 games last year, earning four wins as he pitched for a 3.50 ERA while backing up a pitching crew that tied for fifth in the MLB with the Cleveland Guardians with a 3.46 average ERA.
The then-30-year-old pitcher became a hero over three games of the Braves 2021 World Series win over the Houston Astros, leading the Braves to three wins over All Star second baseman Jose Altuve and the 95-win Astros in Houston's fourth World Series appearance over the last six years. Tyler Matzek said his acceptance of the fear he once tried to suppress ultimately aided him in becoming the hero Atlanta needed to win its first World Series since 1999.
“It's taking that fear and keeping it there,” Tyler Matzek said in a late 2021 interview. “Instead of letting it hold me back, I’m using it as fuel for an aggressive mindset. When I go out there, that fear that my body is feeling is telling me that this is exciting for a reason. Let’s not be afraid of it. Let’s attack it. When you start learning to harness that fear instead of being afraid of it, it fuels you.”
The Braves will start their spring training schedule on Feb. 25 at 1:05 p.m. in a game against the Boston Red Sox at Truist Park. Broadcast information is still to be announced.