The Braves Get Lowe

Finally, a bit of positive news for Braves fans. The team has supposedly agreed to terms with Derek Lowe on a four-year $60 million contract.

The Braves didn’t appear to be interested in Lowe early in the offseason. Whether this was a plan of playing hard-to-get or a desperate reevaluation when the other options fell through is difficult to know….well, actually it isn’t. ;-) I feel that Lowe has been an under-appreciated pitcher. I estimate him to be the ninth most valuable pitcher over the past three seasons.

Over the next four seasons, I estimate Lowe to be worth $57 million, which is close to what he will receive from the Braves. The rotation is now looking like Lowe, Javier Vazquez, Jair Jurrjens, Kenshin Kawakami, and some combo of Charlie Morton, Jo-Jo Reyes, Jorge Campillo, and Tommy Hanson. Now, if the team can get an outfield bat, they may be in business.

14 Responses “The Braves Get Lowe”

  1. Marc Lazzeri says:

    I’m liking this new look rotation. Get ourselves a bat and the Braves could be very competitive this year.

  2. Rick says:

    Lowe is a good addition. I am a little leery of the final year or so because of the his age at the time.
    There will likely be quite a bit of adjustment for Kawakami besides having to face MLB players for the first time. The ball they use in Japan is different than the MLB ball. The MLB ball is a little larger and is supposed to be slicker than the Japanese ball. Matsuzaka doesn’t throw as many different types of pitches because of those things. His breaking balls didn’t break as much here as over there.

  3. Johnny says:

    Funny how the definition of ‘ace’ has evolved.  Now you’re an ace if you pitch 200 innings and have under a 5 era.  I like this signing although Lowe is 35. 

    The funny thing is that this may be the best result.  Burnett sounded like a Hampton redux and trading Escobar for Peavey and his tender elbow sounded ominous.  Sometimes the deals you don’t make are the best ones to paraphrase the oft repeated cliche.

    JC, what do you think about taking a flyer on Andruw Jones?

  4. cp says:

    All along everything I read said that after Sabathia, Lowe was the best pitcher available.  I guess the Braves plan of making the Yankees spend their $’s on Burnett and the Dodgers on Furcal so they couldn’t sign Lowe worked out, huh?
    Seriously, both of them are such injury risks that I’m glad they didn’t work out for the Braves.  When they’re healthy, they’re great but they’re very risky.
    Rumors say the Braves will trade for what they need for the outfield, no Free agents.  Where’s that list of the top outfielders in baseball?

  5. ADC says:

    JC, when you value Lowe at 57 million for the 4 years, what is the year by year break down? And how are you estimating his performance in years 3 and 4? I’m just curious how you account for his age and the fact that he is a sinkerballer.

  6. Heath says:

    I think I like the sound of the rotation, though I can’t help but pine away and envision what it might look like with Smoltz in it (and healthy). But it does look like a year to build some success off of at least, especially if we add another bat. Adam Dunn’s defense is hazardous, but the guy is legit for 40 homers and 100 RBIs. Any hardcore fantasy baseball player knows he is streaky, but when he is hot he can carry the team for crucial stretches (think Andruw Jones). Even though he’ll bat .240, that’s some pretty sweet production. My other idea I keep throwing out is to add Orlando Hudson and move Kelly Johnson to left…this is Hudson’s natural position anyway, who will play better d and hit for a higher average than Raffy would. He lacks the same speed, but he is still speedy compared to the entire Braves roster at the moment. Andruw is a good risk if we can sign him for cheap…the Dodgers owe him 5 mil, but if we paid him the league minimum it’s worth taking a flyer. All the guy would have to do is get his butt in shape and be in the right position…I doubt there is a place for him out there with that sort of welcoming environment besides Atlanta. Who knows? I still say Dunn or Hudson. Thoughts on these two?!?

  7. Marc Schneider says:

    Just don’t expect Lowe to “replace” John Smoltz regardless of the money.  He isn’t a Hall of Fame pitcher, just a solid to very good starter.  Expecting him to duplicate Smoltz in his prime is unrealistic.  This looks like a nice rotation but this isn’t the 90s anymore.  And don’t worry about the money–they paid what they paid and they didn’t give up their shortstop.  I’m not making plans for the World Series but they have a much better chance of being competitive than they did before.

  8. Johnny says:

    Marc Lazerri, thanks for the link.  I’m a knothead.  I had already read that post.  Getting old sucks.

    On paper (remember last season we looked good on paper) we look like contenders.  We could use a power hitting left fielder and I’m sure that something like that is in the works.  For 400k take a flyer on Andruw.  If he revives his career then great.  If not then cut him.  Its not like he is taking at bats away from or blocking a guy from the minors.  (I think Schafer needs AAA) The only downside is that he may only serve to drag the team down.

  9. Gary says:

    I have to say, I was pretty excited when I heard that they got Lowe. I thought that he was the best available after Sabathia, who I knew we wouldn’t be going after. If I can play armchair GM, I don’t know if it’s possible but this is what I’d like to see. Either sign Adam Dunn to play first base or trade for Nick Swisher to do the same. (I know it’s not going to happen) Get Kotchman out of here or keep him for the bench (Seriously, he was all we could get for Teixeira, seriously?! We gave up 6 players for Teixeira and Mahay, come on!). Move KJ back to left field and sign Orlando Hudson. The defense would be better with Kelly in left, opposed to Dunn. Then all we’d have to do is make sure this bullpen is effective and stays healthy (that’s asking a lot, I know) and we might actually be pretty competitive this year.

  10. Heath says:

    Hey hey now, let’s lay off of Kotchman a little. The guy is only 25 and has been a .290 hitter in the majors with decent pop already (14 homers last year). That’s really nothing to laugh at considering he’ll probably be batting probably 7th in the order… 68 and 74 RBIs the last two years. He only hit .237 with Atlanta last year, but let’s give him a year to adjust to some new pitching, eh? And he’s not even in his prime yet; history has shown that many major-leaguers begin to really grasp their power at age 27. I don’t really want to take him out of the lineup…which may mean Dunn in LF if we get him. The Braves don’t like shoddy defense though, so it looks like we may be getting Nick Swisher (1B, OF). This guy had a serious power stroke two years ago…maybe he can get it back. He won’t hit for high average though. But he does draw a lot of walks. There are some positives. I still prefer Dunn’s guaranteed 40 and 100 though.

  11. Dewan Anderson says:

    JC, I’m also happy about the signing, but didn’t it seem like the Braves’ offer was more generous than necessary? The next best offer was the Mets at 3/36. Couldn’t Wren have offered, say, 4/48?

    Or was Wren bidding against one of Boras’ famous “mystery teams” again?

  12. Marc Schneider says:

    Well, if you go 4/48, that might be something the Mets can top.  Obviously, Wren had been burned and he wanted to stop that from happening again.  Also, he couldn’t afford to wait much longer; he made an offer that Lowe would accept now, not in two weeks.   I have no problem with it; it might be a problem in the latter part of the contract but by that time, some of the young pitchers will probably be up, Chipper will possibly be gone and the money isn’t so much that it’s going to hamstring them. 

  13. 4 years and $60 million. I thought it was $30 million but who is counting. I really thought the spending would change with our current economics but they keep on throwing the big money around.