Yesterday, the Braves reached a 4 year, $60 million agreement with starting pitcher Derek Lowe. Lowe, who spent the last four years with the LA Dodgers, will turn 36 in June. The Braves, who missed out on Jake Peavy and AJ Burnett, were desperate to add another starter to their rotation.
From all I’ve read, people seem either very happy (mostly Braves fans) or feel like the Braves got hosed (mostly everyone else). As a Braves fan, I’m pretty happy. We needed another starter in a bad way.Lowe has a career record of 126-107 with an ERA of 3.75. He has also compiled 85 saves for the Red Sox from 1999-2001. Lowe is a notorious sinkerball pitcher with very good control. His best season, by far, was in 2002, his first as a full time starter. He put together a 21-8 record with a 2.58 ERA and finished third in the Cy Young balloting. Last year, for the Dodgers, Lowe was 14-11 with a 3.24 ERA.
The Braves overpaid for Lowe, since he’ll turn 36 next season. When the contract is up, he’ll be 39. Not many pitchers maintain their effectiveness into their late 30s, but Lowe doesn’t overpower people, so maybe that will help.
Lowe has had a few character flaws. While in Los Angeles, Lowe and the anchor of the Dodger’s Dugout show, Carolyn Hughes, were linked together in an extra marital affair that led to divorces for each. Lowe and Hughes were then married in December.
Affairs aside, the Braves have put together a decent rotation for 2009 and maybe a better one for 2010.
1. Derek Lowe
2. Javy Vazquez
3. Jair Jurrjens
4. Kenshin Kawakami
5. Charlie Morton/Jo Jo Reyes/Tommy Hanson/Tom Glavine/Jorge Campillo
In 2010, Tim Hudson should be back to full strength after Tommy John Surgery. I’m on the Tommy Hanson bandwagon, so I think he can be a real contributor in 2010. Kawakami is a real wildcard. He’s a Japanese veteran who is coming to the US next year. There’s no telling what kind of production he’ll give the Braves.
Anyway, I think the Braves are still no better than third in the division right now. They couldn’t score runs last year and they haven’t done a whole lot to rectify that, so I don’t see a huge change. There’s still some offseason left though, so we’ll see if the Braves can make another move or two.