Even before Derek Lowe complained about being singled out for his struggles last season – and I’ll get to that in a minute – it was safe to assume the Braves were not going to get much for him in a trade. Now that he admits he’s miffed about the trade talk and has made the need for a deal a little more desperate, I’m sure they won’t get much.
Trade him anyway. It would be significant addition by subtraction.
Lowe, a relative bust as the Braves’ $60 million free agent last season, told Mark Bowman of MLB.com: “I’m just waiting for it to happen. I don’t think it’s a matter of if anymore. It’s just a matter of when.”
And then came the money quote (pun absolutely intended): “It kind of [upsets] you in a way. It’s well-documented that I stunk the last two months of the season. But I look at it as, ‘Am I the only guy who has struggled for a couple of months in his first season after signing as a free agent?’”
Lowe also said he is bothered that nobody from the organization has contacted him directly about a trade possibility.
The Braves didn’t exactly cozy up to franchise icons Tom Glavine or John Smoltz on their way out the door. How much good will does Lowe think he has built up? Besides, I would think his $15 million salary last season would buy a little therapy.
He went 7-3 with a 3.44 ERA in his first 13 starts. He fizzled to 8-7 and 5.59 in the next 21. Remember, the Braves got better in the second half, not worse.
Lowe was given No. 1 starter money. But by the last two months of the season, he looked like the rotation’s sixth most important pitcher (partly because of economics). Ahead of him: Javier Vazquez, Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, Kenshin Kawakami and Tim Hudson (back from surgery).
Before, the Braves wanted to dump him. Now, they almost have to dump him.
Vazquez would be easier to move because he’s entering his free agency year. But Vazquez (15-10, 2.87) is coming off a great season and Frank Wren wants Lowe’s contract off the books.
There are a lot of rumors flying around — not quite to the level of Georgia defensive coordinator rumors, but close. One has Lowe going to the Angels for outfielder Juan Rivera. Another has him headed to the Yankees for Nick Swisher.
Wren probably would jump at either. But I’m guessing he’d settle for a couple of prospects who don’t bruise so easily.
Just getting Lowe off the payroll would give Wren $10 million to $15 million to spend in free agency (or via trade). He needs that to strengthen the lineup.
It’s not like there’s zero upside to keeping Lowe. He has been a solid pitcher through his career. But the upside has significantly decreased.