All right, this is where we are. The Braves don’t care to dicker with John Smoltz, and he moves on to the Red Sox. Jeff Francoeur comes up for arbitration, and he and the Braves are a few hundred thousand apart—and don’t forget, a year ago the Braves were willing to make a long term deal with Francoeur for much more than this offer. Brian McCann took the deal, Francoeur rejected it, then fell upon hard ground with a bad season last summer.
Meantime, while Smoltz moves on to Boston, the Braves open up the purse and hand over a $60-million contract to Derek Lowe, a medium-class righthander. They won’t come up with an extra sweetener for Smoltz, but they can commit to $60 million for Lowe. Would you call that Lowe-balling?
Once upon a time the Atlanta was the Camelot of the big leagues. This was the destination of many a player who thought Atlanta was the place to be. Bobby Cox was the manager they wanted to play for. The Braves was the uniform they wanted to wear. Remember? This was the team that was able to sign Greg Maddox for $28 million for five years.
My summation is that Frank Wren is not the man to follow John Schuerholz, though Schuerholz was on the dark side of his effectiveness as a general manager when he vacated the office. Remember, he is the GM who traded five prospects for Mark Texeirera, Three of those five prospects will be starters for the Rangers this year, or next. At least Teixiera, meanwhile, has become a $180-million property of the Red Sox. My view is that you don’t make a deal for a Teixeira unless you have a plan to keep him on your roster. This took the shine off Schuerholz’s otherwise glittering stand in Atlanta.
Stand by for later developments.