Braves lock up Lowe for four years


According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves and Derek Lowe have come to terms on a four-year, $60-million deal. It’s a nice contract for Lowe and a solid signing by the Braves.

Meanwhile, this is a deal that echoes through New York for a few reasons. First off, when the Yanks opted to go for A.J. Burnett instead of Lowe, I never expected the former Dodger hurler to land himself a $15-million AAV deal. It seems that I was wrong, and it seems that the market for starting pitching is a bit more robust than the market for corner outfielders.

From that four-year deal, we probably have to reevaluate the Yanks’ one-year offer to Andy Pettitte. You could very easily make the argument now than $10 million for one year of Pettitte is indeed to low. It shouldn’t take Derek Lowe money to lock up Andy, but it may take $12-$13 million guaranteed.

Second, the Mets are looking at an off-season of futility. They low-balled Lowe and never had a real chance to up their offer. Instead, one of their top divisional competitors lands one of the bigger free agent pitchers left. Now, Omar Minaya will have to dole out the bucks for Oliver Perez and probably take a good, long look at Ben Sheets’ medical reports as well.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. blee says:

    now Burnett’s deal doesnt sound that bad..

      • Nady Nation says:

        Yea, I was gonna say. Not sure how this justifies giving a 5 year deal to a guy whose thrown over 175 innings just 3 times in his 10 year career (2 of which were contract years). Hoping that I’m wrong

          • Jay CT says:

            I think you are going to turn out to be wrong. Of course, I always think everything the Yankees does is a good move, lol, so I have been wrong in the past. I still think if we could sign Sheets and get 150 innings pitched out of him a season, it would be well worth it

            • Mike says:

              Totally agree. Sheets is becoming a steal even if he gets hurt he is worth it cause he has such great stuff. Two year deal and he makes 40 starts was well worth it, cause he has ace stuff.

                • Jay CT says:

                  The difference in my opinion though is 1. the Sheets “shoulder issues” are still a rumor to my knowledge. It makes little sense for a guy to decline arbitration and 14 or 15 million if he knows that is in his medicals. 2. Schmidt got a 3 year deal, and the Dodgers deliberatly overpaid on amount to save on years. I am saying a low base high incentive package for Sheets. I think a 2 year 10 million dollar deal with 150 IP escalators to raise it to say a 3 year 42 million dollar deal might get the talk going. Thoughts?

                • My thoughts are, I want to believe, but it’s getting harder for me. I was pushing Sheets over Burnett all winter… but the fact that it’s now mid-January and he’s barely received anything more than a perfunctory sniff from the Rangers makes me believe the rumors that his shoulder (and not just his elbow) is damaged are real.

    • Let's Talk About TEX Baby says:

      The Braves are spending about $47 million on 4 starters in 2009. That’s more than us if we don’t sign Pettitte or another starter. Of those 4, one (Tim Hudson) is out for most of the season. One (Derek Lowe) is decent but certainly not worthy of a $15 mil annual salary. One (Javier Vazquez is very up and down from year to year, and the other (Kenshin Kawakami) is untested in the US. I really don’t get what they’re doing.

      I’m not a fan of A.J. Burnett at all, but when I realized the alternative was 4 years of 36 y/o Derek Lowe, I rooted hard for us to sign him.

  2. THE KID (WI) says:

    No, AJ’s deal looks in line now.

    Regarding Sheets, as a Yankee fan living in Wisconsin, if a team could sign Sheets to a pro-rated 2.15 year deal that’d be fair….cuz that’s about how many years you’ll get out of him on a four year deal….

  3. A.D. says:

    Could have a ripple effect for the Yanks… Braves are obviously looking to contend right now, and still need a LF, they might be more interested in Nady.

    If they had gotten Furcal they could have had a real nice offseason… maybe they still try going after Cabrera and move Escobar.

  4. pat says:

    Lowe wasnt old or hispanic enough for minaya’s taste- Racist_Guy86

  5. THU says:

    I wonder where Sheets goes now. I’d still like the Yankees take to a risk on him.

  6. Reggie C. says:

    I don’t see how Andy Pettitte’s offer gets boosted just b/c Lowe has more or less gotten the money we initially thought he would. Their respective 2008 seasons were wholly different. Lowe has been a model of health and All-star quality production since ’05. He earned his pay bump.

    • Bo says:

      I’d be insulted if I was Pettitte and was asked to take a lower salary than Pavano made here last yr and Carlos Silva makes in Seattle.

      It’s not like he went 5-16 here last yr. He won 14 games in the Al East on an average team with a sore shoulder.

      • steve (different one) says:

        ok, but “with a sore shoulder” is one of those nagging details that is keeping his salary offer down.

        and why shouldn’t it?

        • Ed says:

          I do agree the shoulder should have an impact, but, I would think Pettitte’s response would be “You knew about the injury and wanted me to continue pitching through it, so don’t fault me for not pitching as well as before the injury.” And remember, the MRI he took at the end of the season was the 2nd one on his shoulder, so the team knew he was hurt.

      • A) Silva was a horrid overpayment and every smart person knows this.
        B) Pavano was at the tail end of a contract signed back when he was a 28 year old coming off a dominant ’03 playoff performance and an 18-8, 3.00 ERA season (and pre-injuries). He was at the peak of his earning power and had a fairly bright future ahead of him.

        If you’d be insulted by making less than A) a massive outlier bonehead of a contract and B) a 4 year old contract of a potential ace in his prime that only looks bad in retrospect due to a horrid string of injuries, then you’d be either incredibly shortsighted or incredibly petty.

        By your logic, 90% of baseball players should be pissed the hell off and insulted constantly because they’re not making as much as Barry Zito or Jason Schmidt.

        • Ed says:

          The Silva contract is only a horrid overpayment in retrospect as well. Before this season, he had a career similar to Ted Lilly and Jarrod Washburn, each of which are getting around $10m/year. He was paid about 20% more than similar pitchers were making a year earlier, which is a little high but not a lot. Contracts tend to go up about 10% a year, so from the Mariners standpoint it was really only about a $1m/year overpayment, which they figured was acceptable considering there weren’t any big name starters available.

          The problem is right after that signing, the rest of baseball realized the stupidity in paying that much money for pitchers like that and scaled back. That’s when the contract looked stupid.

          The Zito contract, yeah, that’s one that most people realized wouldn’t make sense before it was even signed. That’s why no one uses that contract as a reference point in negotiations.

          • Meh, as I recall, I heard people saying the Silva contract was a stupid mistake about 0.13 seconds after it was announced.

            • Ed says:

              Every contract signed by a mediocre pitcher is panned when it’s announced. It wasn’t considered a colossal blunder until months later.

              Just did a quick search of MLBTR posts on Silva, here’s a few quotes:

              11/8/07 – “No one expects Silva to come cheaper than four years, $40MM.”

              11/12/07 – “Youngman also believes the Halos have slight interest in Carlos Silva, if he can be had at less than $10MM annually. Not bloody likely.”

              12/11/08 – “Plan B for the Royals is said to be Carlos Silva, but not at a price higher than four years and $40MM. That probably won’t cut it for Silva, who can probably get an additional $10MM or another year elsewhere.”

              12/18/08 – “Rosenthal notes that $44MM or more would represent the bar for Silva’s tier of starters being moved slightly up. That is to be expected; some have speculated it might take more like $12MM annually to get Silva.”

              • Jay CT says:

                It was said that it was stupid but he was the “best” available.

                • Ed says:

                  A team that needs a pitcher signing the best available one to a market rate contract is only stupid if you’re of the “People shouldn’t get paid millions of dollars to play a game” mindset. I do I realize though that it doesn’t stop people from calling almost every contract signed stupid.

                  Silva was a mediocre player signed to a market rate contract. Essentially that means it was neither a good nor a bad move, but a neutral move.

                  His signing became a bad move when Lohse signed for $4.25m/1 year and drastically lowered the expectations for mediocre pitching. At the time Silva signed, Lohse was expected to sign for a little less (around $10m/year instead of Silva’s $12m/year).

                • Jay CT says:

                  Who would have thought that a Scott Boras client could actually LOWER the salary bar!

    • Ed says:

      Because $10m was only reasonable on the assumption that teams are paying less for players due to the economy.

      What have we seen in contracts this winter? CC Sabathia got the largest pitching contract ever. AJ Burnett got a huge contract, which is notable due to his injury history and overall mediocre career. Ryan Dempster got a huge contract coming off of one great year totally out of line with the rest of his career. Randy Johnson might’ve gotten a little more in other years, but he is in his mid 40′s, has no knee cartilage, and has had multiple back surgeries over the past few years, so he’s a giant health risk – plus there’s also the 2-3 mph he lost off his pitches last year as a warning sign.

      Closers did sign for less than expected, but there were more closers available than closing jobs open, so they fell victim to the laws of supply and demand. Likewise on really bad defensive OF/1B players – although you could argue that decline is due more to teams putting increased value on defensive performance.

  7. Mike A. says:

    It’ll be even funnier once Omar gives Oliver Perez 5/75.

  8. What other pitchers do the Braves have besides Lowe, anyway?

    Too bad the Yankees can’t get him, but they’ll probably end up with Pettitte, one way or another. It almost makes too much sense.

  9. Bo says:

    And people are shocked at this?

    Why do you continue to doubt Boras?

  10. Januz says:

    This is a positive signing for the Yankees. Derek Lowe will not be pitching at Citi Field or worse, Boston. All we need is to see Manny to stay in LA, or go to SF, and Oliver Perez, to leave the Mets, and go to a team like the Reds or Brewers, and it will be a perfect offseason for Brian Cashman.

  11. Un-Named Yankee Source says:

    OK, so the Braves are in. They have their pitching now. Chipper is on his last legs. I believe that a low cost guy like Nady is the ideal fit, for a win now team. The Yanks can use the roster spot on the 40 man anyways. Perhaps get 2 quality prospects in return for him? Perhaps Hernandez/Schafer and someone else. Seems to be win/win for everyone.

  12. Evan in NYC says:

    Best of luck to Derek Lowe. Hopefully he can continue to post sub 4.00 ERAs in the NL.

  13. Matt says:

    wow,color me surprised. The NL East is now wide open.

  14. Dave says:

    I wouldnt exact;y call the mets off season one of futility? They landed two of the best closers in baseball when healthy and have a shot to have one of the best bullpens in the national league. I think the mets have done more to improve their team than almost any other team outside of the yanks mainly because their pen was the weakest part of their team last season and they improved it dramatically this off season.

    Meanwhile, i agree pettitte may now deserve 12 mil because lowe is being overpayed by the braves. Now that the braves were desperate enough to give lowe a contract he probably wont live up to, the yanks will have to suck it up and elevate their offer to sign pettitte. I also think the yanks should take another look at sheets- Who knows what he is looking for at this point but i cant imagine it is the same contract he desired two months ago with the complete lack of interest. The mets will sign perez and the only ones in the mix for sheets seem to be the rangers and maybe the brewers. With that kind of interest, the yanks should see what sheets is looking for, go back over the medical records and determine is the salary they can now offer him is worth the risk. Despite what his reports say, sheets still pitched 200 innings before coming out in sept for a minor injury. I cant imagine that the forearm injury is the reason for such concern.

  15. Un-Named Yankee Source says:

    So, ….Chipper Jones

    Player: Chipper Jones – 10 / 3B
    Full Name: Larry Wayne Jones
    Born: 04/24/1972 ……………..almost 37 years old
    Birthplace: DeLand, FL
    Height: 6’4″ Weight: 230
    Bats: Switch
    Throws: Right
    College: N/A
    MLB Debut: 09/11/1993

    How much longer do you think that he will be playing? in the NL, with the Braves? 1-3 more years?

  16. Un-Named Yankee Source says:

    Why are we so worried about getting a #5 right now? …if we wait until mid season, we will know if:

    -Our young guns can cut it
    -How far a lead we will have in the East
    -Whom will be available as a rental
    -Salary Dumps

    Money aside……….is Pettitte worth retarding Hughes/Kennedy/Aceves development? Right now they would be starting the season with minimal pressure. Pettitte WAS a nice honorable guy, but the entire HGH thing really brought a black cloud over the stadium.

    • Rob in CT says:

      There is no “Aceves development.” Aceves is what he is – a finished product. Hughes and IPK (moreso Hughes), on the other hand, yeah. Decent question. My answer:

      Joba will only be giving the team ~150 innings. Hughes can fill in the rest, and also be the 1st in line to be an injury replacement/spot starter. Otherwise, he can work on stuff at AAA. I dunno if that retards his development.

      The team always seems to need 6-7 starters.

      • Mac says:

        KLaw seems to think that Joba will be able to give the team something more like 170 innings, give or take. His logic being that there seems to be a trend that reliever innings are high-stress on the arm and so should really count as double (I am just quoting him, but he seemed not to be pulling this out of his ass)). So if you combine Joba’s 60 as a starter plus his 40 innings as a reliever (x 2), you get 140 innings. The Verducci line for him is then somewhere about 170.

      • 162 games * 6 innings (from the starter) = 972 innings

        CC – 200 innings
        Wang – 200 innings
        Joba – 150 innings
        Burnett – 175 innings (likely), 200 innings (we hope)

        200+200+150+175 = 725
        972-725 = 247 innings left

        If we add Andy, say he gives us 175 innings. That’s still 72 innings for Hughes, Aceves, or Kennedy.

        I’m good with adding Andy and allowing Joba’s eventual shutdown, the inevitable tight hamstring or barking shoulder or tired arm of someone to find room for Hughes and Kennedy. There will be room.

        • Rob in CT says:


          Plus, I think they should be looking at resting CC down the stretch (push him back a day here or there, or just pull him pretty early), b/c he’s been worked HARD over the past couple of years. Having Pettitte will help them do that.

      • Old Ranger says:

        True but, we have more depth this year then we did last year. Last year we had Phil, IPK and Joba, Joba made it the others didn’t. This year we have Phil, IPK, Aceves, Coke and Giese and even (Oh, hell can’t recall his name) Mac???? Last year when they failed we had to pick-up outsiders (because our guys weren’t ready/quality), this year we have better choices in our system. A couple guys would be given the chance to start, if Phil/Aceves weren’t on the team, so I like our depth.

    • Old Ranger says:

      About the way I have felt about it all year, except for the last sentence. I may change it around a bit, not much;

      -Our young guns can cut it—true, like this one
      -How far a lead we will have in the East—take that one out
      -Whom will be available as a rental—-change whom to who (nit picker)
      -Salary Dumps—true, to a point.

      Other then that little correction or two, not bad…more like addition by subtraction.

      • Un-Named Yankee Source says:

        well, Old Ranger, thanks for the grammer check.

        The only way we should get another FA pitcher is if it is on a Minor League Deal.

        Otherwise, let it ride!

        I do believe that we can get some good value from a Nady trade. I hope he would qualify as a Type A FA next year. That should make him appealing to the Braves. Kinda like Tex did to them previously. If we could pry a stud outfielder out of their system and another prospect, …we would be crazy not to do it.

        Finding a 5th outfielder is not as hard as finding “A” Procpects.

        • Old Ranger says:

          There are a lot of people throwing out this trade and that. The problem I have with that is; 1) it is impossible to read another teams needs. 2) there aren’t very many bad GM’s anymore. 3) we (as fans) don’t really know all the prospects as well as Yankees do therefore, we may think one guy is great…in reality, he is all press make-over. Besides, as we all well know…AA, AAA guys are not sure fire to make it in the Show, no matter what their press clippings say.

  17. Rob in CT says:

    This does seem to up Pettitte’s fair market value…

  18. Dave says:

    There is an easy way to solve the 40 man roster situation, get a starting pitcher and sign jaun cruz. All we have to do is make a trade for harang by giving up one of our fill in starters like aceves, coke or geise. If the yanks trade aceves along with nady who they really want and a decent bullpen piece like jose veras who can serve as a very good setup man in the NL , they can possibly land a solid arm capable of pitching 200 innings and still young at 30 years old like Aaron Harang.

    It doesnt have to be harang nut he seems like an obvious choice. We dont want harang for three years? Also, relatively simple -after the season when hughes is ready to start permanently, we put him on the trade block with a two year/around 26 mil contract. Many teams would be interested in a solid starter with a 2 year, 13 mil per year contract especially if he regains his rightful place as a solid front of the rotation starter next year. If aceves, nady and veras isnt attractive to the brewers, we could add in or replace a player with someone like humberto sanchez, kevin whelan or even ian kennedy if we can land a very solid starter. We have soo much talent taking up space on the 40 man that could have little if any impact on the yankee club next season. Why not use that value to land a much needed starter to fill innings while clearing roster spots in the process?

    Then, we can sign a guy like jaun cruz to replace veras. iF we make the trade and sign jaun cruz for 3 mil next season, we will have taken off 5 mil for nady and added 11 mil for harang and 3 mil for cruz – only adding a total of 9 mil in salary while vasting improving our bullpen and rotation in the process. We also eliminate one more player off the roster, adding roster flexibility. If the reds would be willing to take a starting rightfielder/first baseman with righty power, a capable third or fourth starter in the NL (aceves or kennedy) and a solid bullpen arm who could pitch the eighth inning like veras or sanchez or whelan for harang then we should definitely make the trade and subsequently add jaun cruz for our own bullpen.

    • Old Ranger says:

      To coin a phrase, “That makes my head spin!”

      Come on Dave…
      Better bloggers then you and I have come up with trade scenarios that maybe had a chance…but not much. We are Yankee fans so, no matter how hard we try, it always comes out better for us then for the other team. If one can learn to compartmentalise, then it…..forget it, to complicated.
      Besides why trade some of our better (maybe) pitchers for one guy we will flip next year?

  19. Dave says:

    I meant reds obviously when i said brewers.

    I also forgot to say that if we get harang and he pitches well this coming season we could land a position we need next off season like a starting catcher or centerfielder if montero or ajax are not ready.

    • Un-Named Yankee Source says:

      I am not a huge Juan Cruz guy but I like your plan!

      How about getting Isringhausen and Cordero? kinda like Wettland/Rivera from years back. Sure would be nice to through Isringhausen in the Mets faces to compete with Putz/KRod.

      • How about getting Isringhausen and Cordero? kinda like Wettland/Rivera from years back. Sure would be nice to through Isringhausen in the Mets faces to compete with Putz/KRod.

        [ eyes roll back in head, skull bursts into flames, heart explodes in chest ]

        • Un-Named Yankee Source says:

          and your better idea is?

          • Jay CT says:


            And as for that big long post from Dave (which are getting quite common, but he is still off topic), would you trade CMW for three possible helpful guys? Why do people always think you can trade a quarter for 5 nickels? Its better to have the star, and the Reds want the star. 1 year of Nady, along with the unknown Aceves and Veras? Would YOU do that deal if they offered that package for CMW?

    • MattG says:

      The Reds will not take Nady, Aceves and Giese for Harang. Harang is Cinn #1 starter.

      The best offer I would make would be Nady, Kennedy and one of the interchangeable masses–Robertson probably has the best value. That might get it done, but again, Harang is their #1 starter. That’s a hard one to sell the fan base.

  20. Un-Named Yankee Source says:

    This just looks weird!


  21. drew says:

    I dont know how this deal shows that Andy is worth more than ten million.
    1, Lowe is a year younger which is kind of irrelevant.
    2, Andy pitched 7 less innings
    3, Andy allowed nearly 30 more earned runs
    4, Andy allowed 40 more hits, 10 more walks and his ERA was 4.54 vs. 3.24

  22. Un-Named Yankee Source says:


    This just in……

    Braves Interested In Nady, Swisher
    By Tim Dierkes [January 13 at 12:29pm CST]
    Jerry Crasnick and Ken Rosenthal are both reporting today that the Braves have interest in Yankees outfielders Nick Swisher and Xavier Nady. It’s not the first time we’ve heard the Braves connected to the two. The general feeling is that the Yankees are more willing to trade Nady, and the Braves may have to compete with the Mets for him.

  23. mustang says:

    “It seems that I WAS WROING, and it seems that the market for starting pitching is a bit more robust than the market for corner outfielders.”

    “than $10 million for one year of Pettitte is indeed to low. It shouldn’t take Derek Lowe money to lock up Andy, but it may take $12-$13 million guaranteed.”

    Ladies and gentlemen the world is coming to an end.

  24. emac2 says:

    Why is every bad signing used as a market for the fair market value of another player?

    The braves could pay Lowe 30 million a year and Pettitte still wouldn’t be worth 12 mil and I would still rather use the money on something else.

    Why don’t we use actual comparable one year deals like Smoltz or Penny?

    • Old Ranger says:

      The braves could pay Lowe 30 million a year and Pettitte still wouldn’t be worth 12 mil and I would still rather use the money on something else.

      Why don’t we use actual comparable one year deals like Smoltz or Penny?

      That make to much sense! Good thinking, if one is to be paid at worth value, then pay him his worth…it isn’t $12 or $13mm. If it takes that amount to sign him…don’t!

    • Ed says:

      Why is every bad signing used as a market for the fair market value of another player?

      Because almost every signing that isn’t a huge bargain is considered bad by the fans. To the rest of baseball, ignoring the occasional huge outlier (say, Zito), the deals are what defines the market.

      Why don’t we use actual comparable one year deals like Smoltz or Penny?

      Smoltz only pitched in a few games last year before having very severe shoulder surgery. The odds are high that he’s never an effective pitcher again.

      Penny missed most of the season with a shoulder injury and is at high risk for needing surgery.

      Pettitte’s only similarity is that he had minor shoulder aches that the team didn’t think were significant enough to warrant giving him time off until after they were eliminated from the playoffs.

      You might as well throw in Pavano and Hampton as your comparisons if you’re going to use Smoltz and Penny, they’re only slightly less reasonable.

  25. Michael says:

    Without Lowe, the Mets might have lost the NL East: http://jumpinginpools.blogspot.....-east.html

  26. Dave says:

    My post wasnt completely off topic as I was responding to the 40 man roster post from a little earlier today. I cant get to the computer every second and I wanted to respond to that one but i didnt want to post it in a thread that no one was looking at any more like i am probably doing right now.

    I would deal nady, kennedy and robertson for harang. With harang, kennedy becomes expendable and we have numerous other pitchers who can fill the pen. I think that is fair.

    • drew says:

      I have been preaching a deal for harang. after a down year last season I expect him to rebound and be a top k leader in the league like usual.

  27. Jay says:

    If you’re going to look for comparable deals, then be sure to compare Pettitte to a pitcher with similar stats after the All Star Break:

    5.35 earned runs per 9 innings pitched
    79 innings pitched
    96 hits
    25 bases on balls
    1.53 walks and hits per inning pitched
    .302 average batting average against him allowed

    By comparison, Derek Lowe had a 2.38 ERA after the All Star Break and finished very strong even on the road beginning with his August 26th start in Washington.

    I think you’ll find that pitchers with stats like Pettitte’s in the second half got contracts with very low bases and bonuses based on innings pitched, etc. because teams view them as very likely being injured. But maybe I’m wrong. Please list pitchers that have signed this offseason with statistics that bad who got contracts of $10 million or more.

    By the way, if you believe it was because of the poor Yankee fielding — which was definitely lousy — then compare him to the other Yankee pitchers who started two or more games after the All Star Break. And only Sidney Ponson, Darrel Rasner and Carl Pavano had higher ERAs, at 6.29, 6.02, and 5.77, respectively. If you want to say that he should get a little more than them, I would agree. But I don’t think that gets you up to anything even remotely approaching $10 million.

    The Yankees don’t know if he’s injured, and neither do any of us. But what we do know is that if the Yankees pay him $10 million and give him a spot on the roster and it turns out that he is injured, and so the Pettitte of 2008 after the All Star Break is the best they get, the dominos start to fall. Why go there if they believe that they can make other lower risk arrangements (by trade, free agency or anything else)?

    The answer, of course, is Pettitte’s upside if he’s healthy. But those other alternatives might have similar upside, too. And if Pettitte isn’t just blowing smoke you know where when he says it’s the Yankees or nowhere and that it’s not about the money, why won’t he take a lower $ deal, prove himself and get the big contract next year? Answer: Because for him, it IS about the money. And even in this very expensive market for pitching, I suspect that nobody is willing to pay him even $10 million for the reasons that I’ve outlined.

    Maybe an organization like the Red Sox that get it right most of the time in their analysis of pitching could figure out if he’s healthy. But I can’t imagine even them not doing what they usually do and giving him a low base and performance bonuses which, after all, is what they usually do when there’s that kind of uncertainty. And if you think they would let sentimentality get in the way, you need look no farther than Jason Varitek to see otherwise.

  28. [...] I go back and forth on this one. As I mentioned yesterday, I thought the Derek Lowe signing would up Pettitte’s cost a bit, but I realize that Lowe [...]

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