The Braves have signed veteran left-handed reliever Rheal Cormier to a minor league contract. The 40-year-old Cormier will report to Triple-A Richmond on Monday.
Cormier had pitched in three games with the Cincinnat Reds this season. He allowed three runs and four hits in three innings pitched. The Reds designated Cormier for assignment on April 28th and released him on Thursday. Cincinnati will be responsible for the $2.25 million owed to Cormier.
For the last eight years Cormier has been one of the most effective lefty relievers in the game. In the eight years since he moved to the pen Cormier has an ERA of 3.79. That statistic is even better from 2003 through 2006, when James posted a 3.17 ERA. He also had 73 holds in those five seasons. With Steve Colyer cut earlier in the week, the Braves need another lefty option for the bullpen. Right now the Braves' bullpen is full, but if they do decide they need another lefty Cormier could be called upon.
Plus, with Macay McBride currently starting in Richmond to work on his mechanics, the Braves might believe he could be another option for the rotation, especially if Anthony Lerew struggles. Then Cormier could replace McBride as a bullpen option.
Cormier started his career with the Cardinals in 1991 and pitched four seasons there, mainly as a starter. Then he was with the Red Sox in 1995, followed by two years in Montreal before he returned to Boston before the 1999 season. That's when he became a reliever and pitched two years with the Red Sox before joining the Phillies in 2001. Cormier was the main lefty in the Philadelphia bullpen until last summer, when he was traded to the Reds.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can be heard on 680 the Fan in Atlanta, 105.5 the Fan in Macon, and the Atlanta Braves Radio Network. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.