The Atlanta Braves have reportedly re-acquired left-handed reliever Eric O’Flaherty from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for cash considerations. Atlanta fans should be familiar with O’Flaherty, who pitched for the Braves from 2009-2013 as part of a dynamic trio that included Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel. During his five-year tenure in Atlanta, O’Flaherty produced a 13-7 record with a 1.99 ERA.
Reports surfaced this week that the Braves were interested in acquiring a left-handed reliever following the reassignment of left-hander Ian Krol. The Braves acquired Krol from Detroit in hopes that he would be ready to fill a spot in the Atlanta bullpen, but with his ineffectiveness this spring, the Braves must have felt that a move was necessary. With O’Flaherty now in tow, it appears that he will join non-roster invitee Alex Torres to make up the left-handed contingent of the Atlanta bullpen, though Torres’ roster spot is still to be determined.
Braves fans should have fond memories of O’Flaherty, as he was a major contributor in some of the most dynamic Braves bullpens ever. The trio, nicknamed “O’Ventbrel,” became one of the most effective back-end combinations in baseball, especially in 2011, when O’Flaherty posted an ERA of 0.98 in 73.2 innings pitched. O’Flaherty’s arsenal includes a low-90’s sinker, which is his primary weapon, as well as a slurve that sits in the mid-to-high-80’s. Though injuries have limited some of O’Flaherty’s effectiveness since his first stop in Atlanta, it is certainly possible that he could once again become a key cog in the Braves bullpen.