Braves had to cut their losses and dump Derek Lowe

Derek Lowe was 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA this season. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Derek Lowe was 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA this season. (Jason Getz/AJC)

(UPDATED: 7:40 p.m.)

You can always tell how much a team wants to get rid of a player by how big of a financial hit it is willing to absorb from his contact. The Braves basically just announced: “Feel free to drop that concrete block on our heads — just take Derek Lowe off of our hands.”

It’s done: Lowe is gone.

Lowe, with one year and $15 million left on his ridiculous four-year, $60 million contract, has been traded to the Cleveland Indians for minor-league pitcher Chris Jones. An official announcement is forthcoming.

The Braves reportedly will get a low-level minor-leaguer in return. But this was really all about getting: 1) Lowe, a fallen former starter, out of the rotation and out of the clubhouse; 2) the Indians being willing to pay $5 million of Lowe’s salary next year.

Lowe wasn’t the worst free agent signing in Braves history. For that, he can thank Kenshin Kawakami. And he actually was a solid pitcher at times. He even was the team’s best starter down the stretch and in the postseason in 2010.

But he never was nearly worth the contract the Braves gave him, and he wasn’t even borderline decent in 2011. He had to be gone. General manager Frank Wren felt desperate for pitching help after the 2008 season and, after missing on other starters via trade or free agency, he offered Lowe a longer-term, richer contract than any other team had. Don’t blame Lowe for taking the money, blame Wren for giving it to him.

Although Lowe received “ace” money, he never was the ace of the staff through the season. He evolved into a middle-to-back-of-the-rotation guy, and his implosion this season (9-17, 5.05 earned run average) made it clear that he would not be back with the team.

Wren told our Carroll Rogers: “Once you know what you want to do, you want to get the dominoes falling, and that was the first one.”

The good news for the Braves: This lops $5 million off the payroll, so that should help the budget-conscious organization to land a shortstop and bench help this winter.

By Jeff Schultz

• Earlier: Terry Pendleton could be candidate to replace LaRussa

• Earlier: Jackets’ response to critics suddenly gives them title shot

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164 comments Add your comment

Fan with no Name

October 31st, 2011
1:17 pm

Najeh Davenpoop

October 31st, 2011
1:18 pm

Who needs a playoff berth or a World Series win when you can get news this good?

ATLman86

October 31st, 2011
1:19 pm

Happy Halloween to Frank Wren! Thank You!

Robby

October 31st, 2011
1:20 pm

I am glad he is gone, but watch him get MVP next year…

hmmmm.........

October 31st, 2011
1:25 pm

Sweet. So after trading Lowe and dumping McClouth what are the Braves gonna do with that extra cash?

Feeanch

October 31st, 2011
1:27 pm

I wish I sucked at my job so bad that my company paid me to go away. Unfortunately I am so good that they keep wanting to do more while limiting my resources and capping my incentive plan!

hmmmm.........

October 31st, 2011
1:27 pm

I hope they sign a solid righthitting outfielder and use Prado like the Rangers use Michael Young

Daniel

October 31st, 2011
1:28 pm

Wow! Derek Lowe and Nate McLouth both gone! It’s like Christmas on Halloween! Two of the biggest team burdens gone!

stone

October 31st, 2011
1:28 pm

dumping Lowe & McClouth really doesn’t actually free up much cash

Quagmire

October 31st, 2011
1:29 pm

Giggity giggity goo!!

TexasBrave

October 31st, 2011
1:29 pm

Jeff your line about being out of the clubhouse made it seem like he was a clubhouse cancer. Is this true?

stupup74

October 31st, 2011
1:30 pm

Paraphrasing Dumb and Dumber:

“Frank, when I think you can’t get any dumber, you go and do something like this and TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

DaveinNEPA

October 31st, 2011
1:30 pm

Yes, Lowe’s contract was ridiculous…………however, we have to keep in mind that he was the BEST FA starting pitcher available at the time we signed him and we weren’t going to be able to sign him for less than four years. We all knew that the back end of the contract would probably be a problem due to Lowe’s age, but let’s not get too carried away with jumping on FW for this signing. We probably don’t get the WC in 2010 without Lowe’s September.

I wish Lowe the best.

hmmmm.........

October 31st, 2011
1:30 pm

I think its about 9 million after Mclouths buyout

Naylor

October 31st, 2011
1:31 pm

Great News!

Unleash the young guns!

oldfart

October 31st, 2011
1:31 pm

Having to pay $10,000,000.00 for someone to not play for your team doesn’t produce extra cash.

Which gives me a thought. Does the government still pay you to not grow things? Given my current retirement situation I think I need to not grow a lot of things next year. I’m too old to get paid not to pitch.

Bama Mike

October 31st, 2011
1:33 pm

Doing the obvious that we the genius bloggers have noticed for the past two years is not news. It confirms Wrens dementia is getting worse. A bold GM would remove Chipper as well. No range constantly hurt. Looks like he is posing for a trophy out there.

As long as we have the Frank and Fredi show we will be very average.

WayxDog

October 31st, 2011
1:36 pm

I tip my hat to him though…for what, I’m not sure.

J dude

October 31st, 2011
1:37 pm

Mr. Schultz, please please pick Auburn and Georgia Tech to beat Georgia this year!

HotDamn

October 31st, 2011
1:38 pm

YES!!!!!!!!! Now onto fredi the freetheloader.

randy ray

October 31st, 2011
1:38 pm

frank wren is bad,but shuerholz was a bigger fool,just look at the j.d. drew and teixiera trades, this idiot give up the future was these two guy’s,

Bama Mike

October 31st, 2011
1:38 pm

You mean the young guns with recovering arm and shoulder problems. Looks like Dan Wilson is a lock on the squad. What did he make like $1400.00 per month. Cant wait to hear Terry, Frank and Fredi spin this.

Herschel Talker

October 31st, 2011
1:39 pm

Schultzie:

WOOHOO!!! Party time. This jerk was a disaster and needed to go. Next up on the chopping block: Fredi Gonzalez!

FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!!

HT

HotDamn

October 31st, 2011
1:42 pm

I am so with you Herschel!!! They cant get rid of gonzalez fast enough.

hank

October 31st, 2011
1:43 pm

I thought he quit last season. Pitiful excuse for a season this year and with any success we would not have watched that LaRussa (insert any foul language) ride off into the sunset. Good bye and good ridance.

David

October 31st, 2011
1:43 pm

Watch, Liberty will pocket the cash. This is a hopeless situation without a change in ownership AND management (I mean you Schuerholz and Gonzalez; Wren has been o.k. given the budget constraints). The Braves have nowhere near enough offense to compete with the likes of the Cards, Rangers, Brewers, and Tigers. The pitching is good, but not good enough. Unless you have reliable starters like Johnson/Schilling circa early 2000’s, for example, you’ve got to have more of an offense than this team has. The pitching is good, but not close to elite. You need an elite staff to compete with the anemic offense the Braves currently have. I predict Liberty will hew close to the $85 mil mark on payroll next year, which will be significantly lower than that of the Phillies. We’re not likely to any moves of note this offseason. The culture of this team needs to change from one of complacency and self-satisfaction to one of urgency. One playoff appearance in the last 6 seasons folks! Something’s got to change…

yellow britches

October 31st, 2011
1:44 pm

Hey, was Kawakami a Wren trade or acquisition? If he was, think about this: Lowe, Kawakami, McClouth, Gonzalez(OK) and for what? Talk about sucking at your job and getting paid for it. Maybe Wren needs to look in the mirror.

stone

October 31st, 2011
1:45 pm

Derek Lowe is a team guy and a good guy to have around. He was once a very good pitcher & had a very nice career. The problem is here: he just plain sucks.

we all knew he was overpaid & given a contract that was one year too long. we were all correct. This is good news. We save a little money and we don’t have to watch Derek Lowe pitch anymore for the Braves.

Good Luck Derek Lowe. You were solid your first year here, servicable your second, & absolutely outstanding in the Braves Wild Card run in 2010.

Thank you & good luck.

bravesfaninnc

October 31st, 2011
1:45 pm

This is really great news.So how much money does this free up to sign free agent? Thanks

Plate Appearance

October 31st, 2011
1:48 pm

A FINANCIAL HIT

It’s doubtful the Indians were able to absorb much of Lowe’s salary.

You have to wonder how much of a financial hit the Braves took on this trade.

Naylor

October 31st, 2011
1:49 pm

No Bama Mike, I mean the Young guns Delgado, Teheran, Vizcaino, Minor, Beachy. We should have a nice rotation for the next few years. I’m not counting on the ones with injury problems.

kerryb

October 31st, 2011
1:52 pm

All you idiots calling for Freddie Gonzales to be fired. You have no idea what you are talking about. You wouldnt say that up until August. But they went on a skid in September mainly because their 2 best starters were hurt. Freddie didnt have anything to do with that. I say lets also unload JJ on someone. He’s a Boras client that cant stay healthy.

Joey

October 31st, 2011
1:53 pm

At least Lowe was game and I think gave it his best every start. Can’t say that about every Brave.

Good luck, Derek Lowe.

HotDamn

October 31st, 2011
1:58 pm

kerryb I have been saying get rid of fredi since about the third game. The man has no heart, no fire, just sits there till someone tells him to get up. People call him a Cox clone. He isn’t even that. He is more like a lump on the bench, just sitting quitely. Cause he doesn’t know what to do. Give him a break, and get him outta here.

Cleveland

October 31st, 2011
1:58 pm

We welcome him. He will win the Cy Young award and come back player of the year. Mark it down.

LawDawg

October 31st, 2011
1:59 pm

No, Plate Appearance, you do not need to wonder about that if you learn to f-in’ read.

Skeezix

October 31st, 2011
1:59 pm

Re: Lowe. How come I knew this was a bad deal from day one–yet FW, who is suppose to be the expert, apparently didn’t and locked the Braves into such a bad deal? Then there’s the K.K. and McLouth disasters.

How has FW kept his job? Where is the accountability in the Braves organization? I mean we are talking a ton of money that has been wasted by Wren in a fairly short time and it has significantly hindered the Braves ability to compete at the highest level. It is why we had to settle for so many weak .230 hitters.

LawDawg

October 31st, 2011
2:00 pm

Has anyone on hear expressed the knee-jerk, idiotic sentiment that Fredi Gonzalez should be fired after 1 season in which he got nearly 90 wins with a very young, underperforming, and oft-injured team? A bunch of teenagers have? Ok then.

LawDawg

October 31st, 2011
2:01 pm

Mike Dawg

October 31st, 2011
2:04 pm

Now fire Frank Wren he is the braves problem he never take brave to a world series

Abnerish

October 31st, 2011
2:04 pm

I don’t think it’s fair to say that the Lowe deal, when signed, was a bad idea. At the time, Lowe was a successful, veteran pitcher with no history of arm problems and tons of postseason experience. It was a gamble that Wren took that didn’t work out. While he wasn’t as successful as everyone would have liked over his entire stint in Atlanta, you have to give Lowe a lot of credit for getting the Braves into the postseason last year. He’s a solid professional who gave his all every time out and I wish him well at Cleveland. In the end, this was the best decision for the Braves with so many arms ready for the Majors.

Sonny Clusters

October 31st, 2011
2:09 pm

Well, that’s 17 losses somebody else will have to pick up. We was hoping to see a few more changes and judging from the fans’ attitudes right now we’re betting more changes will take place. This team has added another Jones and we was wondering if he is Buck Commander material? With Lowe going to Cleveland, somebody needs to alert the Ohio State Patrol.

Abnerish

October 31st, 2011
2:11 pm

oh and Wren HAS made some good moves, too. His best is easily Michael Bourn. It was the perfect fit and he didnt give up too much in return. Heck, I remember how excited everyone was when we traded for McLouth. I remember thinking McLouth was a very good player from what I knew of him from his play with the Pirates. At what point is a trade the fault of the player and not the GM? Based on Nate’s career stats, how could anyone predict that he would go from an all-star to a guy that couldn’t hit .200?

Leon

October 31st, 2011
2:12 pm

Our long nationl nightmare is over. Derek Lowe has left the building..and for that we can be forever grateful.

Jeff Schultz

October 31st, 2011
2:14 pm

Robby — I’ll take that bet.

chris

October 31st, 2011
2:16 pm

Wren has done a great job. He signed Lowe, but he had too. I will forgive him on the Kawakami deal, since again he had to buy our young pitchers time to develop. I am pretty sure the Braves have more pitching depth than any other team in baseball. Obviously, we need to score some runs, but let’s see what Wren has up his sleeve.

Jeff Schultz

October 31st, 2011
2:16 pm

Texas Brave — “Jeff your line about being out of the clubhouse made it seem like he was a clubhouse cancer. Is this true?” … Derek is not necessarily perceived as a “bad guy.” But in any sport, no team wants an ex-starter who is going to be reduced to a secondary roll on the team because, yes, problems can develop. That’s why you almost always see ex-starters traded, not kept around as backups.

Jeff Schultz

October 31st, 2011
2:18 pm

Hmmmm: Braves paid $1.25 million to McClouth I think to NOT exercise his option. So effectively paying McLouth and Lowe $11 million to NOT play for them.

alex

October 31st, 2011
2:18 pm

1 down:chipper,gonzo,uggla,fg,and fw to go. Can FW fire FW,yes he can resign!

Peter

October 31st, 2011
2:19 pm

Braves pay $10 million, Indians pay $5 million, according to ESPN.