ATLANTA — It's no secret the Atlanta Braves are focused on pitching this off-season. The club has agreed to a one-year $18 million deal with left-handed pitcher Cole Hamels, they announced on Wednesday. 

Hamels' signing reinforces a young, talented pitching rotation that includes Mike Soroka and Max Fried. Hamels, 35, is the oldest player on the roster but he is going to be a key contributor to the team's future success. 

MLB stats show Hamels posted a 3.81 ERA (60 ER/141.2 IP), 56 walks and 143 strikeouts in 27 starts for the Chicago Cubs in the 2019 season.

Hamels had many signing options this off-season, but there was one deciding factor that lured him to a promising Braves team. 

"Truthfully, when it really came down to it, I wanted to play on a contender," Hamels said. "I was very familiar with the Braves, obviously watching them in the postseason and seeing what they've been able to create. So, I've always been following them in hopes of maybe having an opportunity to pitch with some of those guys because they have such good young talent."

The Braves were one of six teams that had interest in Hamels. They've also signed others recently. 

General Manager Alex Anthopoulos signed Giants closer Will Smith, re-signed reliever Chris Martin and signed former Rays catcher Travis d'Arnaud.

The Braves' 2020 season begins in February, but they've wasted no time this off-season preparing for what they hope is a prominent season.

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