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links_for_19_smoltz_kawakami_lowe | January | 2009 Articles

2009 Archives

Links for 1/9: Smoltz, Kawakami, Lowe

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Update: This wasn't worth a new post, but it's an interesting thought, so I'll toss it out there. Nick Cafardo speculates that the lack of interest in free agent starter Ben Sheets could lower the price enough for a team like Atlanta or Texas to sign him. Let's talk hypothetically for a moment here. If the Braves end up landing Kawakami and Lowe for around $20-22 million a year combined, they could offer someone like Sheets $8 million a year (incentive deal?)  over three years and still have enough (based on estimations of the team's open payroll) to still add an outfielder. He's a serious health risk, but having Tommy Hanson waiting in triple-A is a nice insurance policy, and a rotation of Lowe, Sheets (if healthy), Jurrjens, Vazquez, and Kawakami is pretty impressive. I see a very slim chance of this happening, but fun to think about (what else is there to do over the off-season?).

With a day to really let the loss of John Smoltz sink in, I'm a little surprised Braves fans aren't taking this as a sign of Armageddon (not saying they aren't angry, just not as angry as I had expected). Smoltz may be gone, but Frank Wren seems to be working very hard to soften the blow and that is the "theme" of today's links post.

  • J.C. Bradbury broke down and compared Smoltz's offers from Boston and Atlanta, while adding a good helping of criticizm for the Braves front office about their handling of the subject in the media. I can't say I disagree.
  • David O'Brien provided the first concrete evidence of Atlanta's interest in free agent right-hander Derek Lowe. According to O'Brien, Lowe and his agent, Scott Boras, met with the high-ups in the organization for five hours on Sunday, while Mark Bowman says that the team could make an offer to Lowe early next week. The Mets have reportedly offered a 3-year $36 million contract to the 35-year old starter and it will be interesting whether the Braves tack on another guaranteed year after seeming turned off by Lowe's age so far this off-season.
  • I'm hesitant to get too excited about any media reports after how this off-season has gone, but it looks like Kenshin Kawakami is about to become the next part of Frank Wren's rotation rebuilding program. The Yomiuri Shimbun was the first media outlet to report that a deal was close and Mark Bowman seconded that, saying that "multiple major league sources confirmed" a deal between the Braves and Kawakami was close.
  • This is just a closing thought. After all the dissapointment and inability of the Braves' front office to seal the deal, Frank Wren still has a chance to improve the team significantly. If he can somehow add Lowe and Kawakami (don't assume either is a done deal), then Bobby Cox would head into the '09 seaon with a rotation of Lowe, Jair Jurrjens, Javier Vazquez, Kawakami, and one of Jorge Campillo, Tommy Hanson, Tom Glavine, Charlie Morton, or Jo-Jo Reyes. That's not half bad and if he can add some offense to the outfield as well (they all seem to be on the bargain rack right now), then this would be a pretty respectable team come opening day. Fingers crossed everybody!

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