Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Braves Bolster Rotation: Agree to Terms With Derek Lowe

I've seen this story all over the place today, and when I found out that the Atlanta Braves gave Derek Lowe 4 years, $60M to pitch for them, I was shocked. Firstly, I was surprised that it took this long for a team to sign Lowe, but the fact that he will be getting 4/$60 is a figure that I did not believe possible for him to achieve, even with Scott Boras as his agent.

He is getting the same framework in terms of years as he did with the Dodgers, but he is getting a $24M raise overall from $36M to the new $60M. Personally, I love Lowe as a pitcher. He competes, will give you 200 innings, and keep your team in the ball game. But at the ripe age of 36, a 4/$60 deal is absurd. Then again, it shows how much teams value pitching. I wonder how much of this deal was paranoia on the part of Atlanta's front office in that they didn't want either the Mets or Phillies to pick up Lowe, and were willing to give him the type of money they gave him because of that.

Financial issues aside, the signing gives their rotation an infusion that will allow them to nurture top pitching prospect Tommy Hanson along in the Minors until they deem him ready to unleash upon the rest of the baseball world. The Braves had to make this move, having already lost icon John Smoltz to the Red Sox, and with Tom Glavine's future uncertain and Tim Hudson not expected back until August, they needed an ace to fill the void.

Lowe and his sinker should fit nicely in the spacious confines of Turner Field, and he will be backed by an offense that, while not as potent as those of the rival Phillies or Mets, should give him some solid run support.

With the Lowe addition, the rotation will look something like this for 2009:
  1. Derek Lowe
  2. Javier Vazquez
  3. Kenshin Kawakami
  4. Jair Jurrjens
  5. Jorge Campillo
Lowe and Vazquez will be a potent one-two punch in the NL East, with Kawakami, Jurrjens, and Campillo looked upon to provide solid starts to help get this franchise back up to speed in the competitive NL East.

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