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It's been a big couple of days for the Braves' front office, and they may not be done yet. While the Red Sox introduced John Smoltz at a press conference (I'll never get used to him in a Boston hat), Frank Wren was busy with a rotation makeover. Here are some links for today:
I'm sure you've all heard the big news by now. The Braves and free agent starter Derek Lowe agreed to terms on a 4-year $60 million deal, which will keep the 35-year old right-hander in a Braves uniform through the 2012 season. In Lowe, Wren found an anchor to what is arguably the top rotation in the NL East. One of the biggest improvements that Lowe brings to the rotation is his durability (Braves fans know all about that). During his seven seasons as a starter, never pitched under 180 and only failed to top 200 innings twice (199.1 in 2007). Along with Javier Vazquez, the Braves have a rotation with far fewer injury concerns than in previous seasons.
David O'Brien rovided the first news of the terms of Kenshin Kawakami's contract. O'Brien says that the deal is for three years and $23 million ($7.67 AAV). He will get a signing bonus and just over $7 million per season. I was way off on my first guess but I still think this is a good signing. Let's just hope his stuff translates to the majors.
Ken Rosenthal reported that the Braves have contacted the New York Yankees about outfielders Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher. I'm not sure which outfielder Frank Wren would prefer. Nady fits the team's need more as a lefty-masher but is also a free agent (represented by Scott Boras) at the end of the season, while Swisher doesn't really provide the power from the right side that the Braves need, but is signed through 2011 (albeit to a deal that isn't exactly cheap). Wren has plenty of talented prospects who are far away from the majors to complete a deal, but could conceivably turn his attention to a free agent if the market continues to drive down their price.
Adam Dunn is looking for a 4-year deal worth $56 million. That probably puts him out of the Braves' price range and every other team in baseball. Has this guy picked up a newspaper recently? Has his agent paid attention to any of the signings (or lack of) this off-season?