It hurts to say it, but it was time for Tom Glavine to go

When Tom Glavine was allowed to leave for the Mets in December 2002, I was outraged. (At the Braves, not at him.) The same Braves released the same Glavine on Wednesday, and here’s what I say now:

Good move.

Tom Glavine is my favorite Brave ever, but it was time — past time — for him to go. I didn’t cheer when they brought him back two winters ago, and I was against giving him another chance in 2009. A 43-year-old coming off shoulder and elbow surgery? With Tommy Hanson waiting in the minors? Was this a big-league baseball season or a sentimental journey?

“This was not a business decision,” Frank Wren told the media Wednesday. “This was a performance decision.” And there should be no arguing with that.

Tom Glavine gave the Braves a lot. He gave them the greatest night of professional sports this city has known. (Game 6, 1995 World Series, eight innings, one hit.) But he has, sad to say, nothing left to give. Wren again: “Our evaluation [of Glavine's rehab starts in the minors] was that he would not be successful at the major-league level.”

It was a grim and defensive Wren who faced the press, and sure enough the question arose: Given that John Smoltz was allowed to sign elsewhere and that Glavine has been cut, was he worried about appearances? “Obviously you’re concerned about everything,” Wren said, “but at the end of the day fans want to win, to be in the playoff hunt … If we have to deal with the consequences of a public-relations backlash, that’s part of doing business.”

Releasing Tom Glavine was:

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Then this: “My duty is to give the 25 players in that clubhouse the best chance to win and the best chance to be playing in October.”

And he has. Hanson is en route to the bigs, where he surely belongs. (He’ll start here Saturday night against Milwaukee.) At this point in their careers, is there any doubt a heat-bringing 22-year-old stands to help more than a 43-year-old soft-tosser? Shouldn’t that consideration trump all else?

The belief here is that there will be no massive outcry. (Glavine, as we know, was pilloried locally — and wrongly — for his role as a players’ representative during the 1994 strike.) The belief here is that the Braves will sell more tickets for Hanson’s first big-league start than they would have for Glavine’s 683rd. The belief here is that Wren deserves no grief for this move, none whatsoever.

The Braves hoped Glavine would be ready by April 17, the first time they’d need a No. 5 starter to bring the gap until Hanson was primed. Glavine couldn’t go in April (or May), and now no such gap exists with Hanson. And just because Glavine threw six shutout innings in a Rome rehab start Tuesday cut no ice. Said Wren: “Our view over the course of the last month was that he has not improved.

This wasn’t a hairline call, not for a team that has designs on winning the NL East. Toward that end, Wren traded three big-time prospects to Pittsburgh for center fielder Nate McLouth an hour after announcing Glavine’s release. This general manager is being as aggressive as is financially possible, and we should applaud him for that. Even if Wednesday didn’t seem a time for applause.

Said Wren: “It’s not a pleasant day,” and it wasn’t. Bobby Cox, a man’s man, spoke after the game with reddened eyes. And Chipper Jones, as he invariably does, sounded the exact proper note: “Sentimentally, [the day] stunk. But if you look at it in terms of this organization going forward, you have to hope it’s a step in the right direction.”

Tom Glavine is among the most distinguished Braves ever to wear the uniform. But time waits for no man, and it was time for the team he ennobled to move on.

518 comments Add your comment

free

June 3rd, 2009
7:36 pm

take tom you my hero!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chris

June 3rd, 2009
7:36 pm

Am I missing something? Isn’t this done in the NFL all the time? I mean I don’t completely understand the outcry on sports talk.

Mitch

June 3rd, 2009
7:36 pm

Mark, let’s say that from a baseball standpoint, you are right, and bringing Tommy Hanson up now helps the Braves win the 2009 NL Wild Card. (Not guaranteed, unless a lot of things go right). My problem is, why didn’t the team just not sign him this winter, and let him part ways with us that way, instead of doing it like this?

I had heard Glavine was pitching well in rehab, with six strong innings last night.

I want to see Tommy Hanson, just as much as anyone. I’ll be watching his major league debut on Saturday, if it’s on TV the Extra Innings package I have. I just don’t think the Braves should have let Glavine go in this manner.

I suspect that your blog will see strong opinions from both sides.

Mitch

country boy

June 3rd, 2009
7:36 pm

Your article is right MB but for the wrong reasons. No one forced Glavine to turn his back on Braves fans and go to NY for more money. He was more concerned about being a players union man than he was about Braves and Braves fans. I just hope Braves send Smoltz packing when he comes back to Atl. in a short year or two begging for an announcers job. Last year when he was making 15 mil and giving us 3 stinking wins it seemed like he showed up on Braves TV telecasts every other day.

free

June 3rd, 2009
7:36 pm

take care tom you my hero!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

count_schemula

June 3rd, 2009
7:36 pm

I don’t see ANY jerseys in the photograph! lolz

count_schemula

June 3rd, 2009
7:39 pm

I think Tom had become a soft(er) tosser and the team has 5 kids who throw harder but they never manned up and told him that this was even a possibility. So, he rightly feels blindsided even if this is the right move in an abstract sense. Move could not look worse nor have been handled worse, but it was the right move.

Frank Wren go home.

June 3rd, 2009
7:40 pm

Its not the fact that they cut him, ITS HOW IT WAS DONE. Why do you let him go out ( and do well) in rehab starts if you have no room for him. You wait til AFTER he pitched his last schedule rehab to start to cut him? Shame on you Frank Wren, and whoever else was responsible for stringing him along. Him, and John Smoltz BOTH deserved better. The Braves of 90’s, and the feel good that went along with them are gone.

Dawg A

June 3rd, 2009
7:40 pm

I have no problem with them letting Glavine go. Hanson is ready and we are going to be in good shape with our pitching. Mark…. would do you think of the trade the braves just made?

D J Anderson

June 3rd, 2009
7:42 pm

That million dollar bonus had to be a big factor in making the decision to release him. Without it in the contract – the Braves could have at least given him a start or two before pulling the plug. If the starts turned out bad enough, Glavine may have made the decision to retire.

Dawg A

June 3rd, 2009
7:42 pm

Sorry I can’t spell………. What do you think of the trade?

Cherokee STH

June 3rd, 2009
7:44 pm

Pretty good baseball people evaluated his work in the minors and decided it was not going to translate to success as a starter for the Braves. Wasn’t going to be about money…his money was pretty cheap going forward. Sorry to see him go, I am a huge fan, but I understand.

For Glavine to be upset with the Braves (and insinuate its financial) is pretty hypocritical when he did the same thing to them to pitch for the Mets…don’t want to hear a word from him about “unfair”.

LAKE OCONEE DAWG

June 3rd, 2009
7:47 pm

Why put a guy through all the rehab starts, and he pitched pretty well, then decide to not even give him a chance to see what he can do. He never overpowered anyone before, but he sure could get people out. Who did the observation on Glavine??? After pi$$ing away all that money on Tex, knowing there was very little chance of signing him long term, and the thought of paying Glavine a million sent a Braves Hall of Famer to the showers….Tom Glavine gave a lot to the Braves, Tex a cup of coffee……………………..Performance my fanny….If that be the case, a lot more of the current crew wouldn’t be around….The million dollar price stoned the once proud Braves…Get off the performance kick….300 victories, he deserved a chance, then if he fails, go get the young fireballer……ALL ABOUT MONEY….
NO CLASS ALL THE WAY….TYPICALLY BRAVES OF LATE…

Larry

June 3rd, 2009
7:47 pm

One down and one to go: Bobby Cox!

ClemsonBrad

June 3rd, 2009
7:50 pm

I was shocked to see it happen, but I agree Bradley, it probably is for the best. Tough to see it happen to Tom, because like you, I have been such a huge fan over the years. After all the work he has done the last couple of weeks, I am kind of surprised the Braves cut him today and not three weeks ago…kind of a low move IMO to cut him right before he was about to come back…Why now and not months before?

Fahim

June 3rd, 2009
7:51 pm

Tom, thank you for the years of wonderful memories. Your framed jersey will always hang above my pool table along with Greg and John’s. It was an honor having watched you pitch.

I HATE the McLouth trade. We gave up a bloody ton for an “all-star”. Lets face it folks, he was only an “All-Star” since MLB requires one person from each team for the “All-Star” game.

Another stupid trade by our horrible general manager. Screw you wren.

LAKE SINCLAIR DAWG

June 3rd, 2009
7:53 pm

Bringing up Hanson gives the Braves a shot at the 2009 Wild Card??? He better bring his bat AND HIT .340, too, cause the Braves can’t score enough runs to be the Wild Card….Haven’t figured out a way to steal 1st Base….REAL CLASS WAY TO HANDLE TOM GLAVINE, JUST LIKE WITH JOHN SMOLTZ….BRAVES AND WREN, JOKES OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL….

CLTDawg

June 3rd, 2009
7:53 pm

Watching the game right now, they just said Glavine asked for and received his release. Wren is coming to the booth, it’ll be interesting to hear what he says.

LAKE SINCLAIR DAWG

June 3rd, 2009
7:57 pm

YEAH, HE WORKED HIS BUTT OFF TRYING TO GET BACK AND PITCHED THOSE REHAB STARTS JUST SO HE COULD ASK FOR HIS OWN RELEASE….ASK SMOLTZ ABOUT WREN….WREN COMING TO THE BOOTH, SHOULD BE REALLY INTERESTING….

Matt B.

June 3rd, 2009
7:57 pm

As Kincaid said on 680, this is not how you treat Tom Glavine. You don’t make him jump through hoop after hoop, and then cut him loose once he completes the charade he was apparently starring in. This only increases my apathy towards this once-great organization.

Ozzfest

June 3rd, 2009
7:57 pm

Take your $125 million bank account and GO BACK TO NEW YORK!

count_schemula

June 3rd, 2009
7:58 pm

Not cool with the Gorkys part of the day though… McLouth is on a 4 year contract, what does this mean for Schafer? Is McLouth a use and trade guy?

Larry Orange

June 3rd, 2009
7:58 pm

Hey, Frank Wren , ever hear of a guy named Jamie Moyer?? He just won 18 ballgames for the world champs last year.Soft-tossing no less. I hope Tom goes back to New York and keep the Braves out of the PLAYOFFS! Yet another stupid move by this so-called GM. My cat could make better moves than this.

Mark Bradley

June 3rd, 2009
7:59 pm

I have mixed emotions about the trade. I do think the Braves gave up a lot, but Wren just made a point of noting that McLouth is under contract for four years, as opposed to being a rental. So that does make a difference.

And I swear there’s a guy wearing a Glavine shirt in the photo. (Toward the center, near the aisle.) But it’s hard to see, I admit.

Mark Bradley

June 3rd, 2009
8:00 pm

About Jordan Schafer: This hasn’t been his week, has it?

Paul Lentz

June 3rd, 2009
8:01 pm

Wow, I just heard about Tom Glavine being released. Damn, maybe my constant postings about letting Glavine go did some good. Maybe someone from Braves management read my postings, lol. I’ve been a Braves fan since 1982. I appreciate all that Glavine did for the Braves. However it was time to move on. I’m not saying that he cant help another team win. However, Medlen has to ability to pitch the 5th spot in the rotation, at a much cheaper price than Glavine. And if anyone falters or gets hurt, Tommy Hanson can step in.

To be honest, I’m surprised that Frank Wren released Glavine. After still sticking with Franceour, I figured that the Braves would cave in to popular sentiment and give Glavine a few starts. Way to go Mr. Wren. Doing the right thing, especially when it goes against popular sentiment, isnt an easy thing to do. However, he did.

Now if the Braves can get someone to take Jeff Franceour off our hands, then maybe Braves management can use the money saved to acquire a legit right handed power bat.

I am so pleased. Thank you Frank Wren.

Paul Lentz

June 3rd, 2009
8:02 pm

OMG, Nate McClouth is only 27, has 2 more years after this year before he is eligible for free agency. He’s only making $2.5 mil this year. He can hit for power (9 homers, 34 RBI’s), has speed (7 stolen bases) and has a good strikeout to walk ratio (21 walks, 29 strikeouts).

I guess this means that Jordan Schafer will be staying in Triple A until the September call-ups. Also, I think that this means that Jeff Franceour is staying in right field for the time being. However, I’m hoping that Cox will eventually put Diaz in there. Or maybe he is waiting for Omar Infante to come back at the All-Star break. Still, I do “understand” why the Braves are still giving Franceour a chance. They are holding out hope that he will be the right handed power bat that we need. While I do hope that the Braves are still looking for a deal for a right handed power bat, the McClouth trade does help the offense while not sacrificing defense.

I see no problem with who the Braves gave up. Charlie Morton, at best, will be a 4th or 5th starter. Giving up Gorkys Hernandez, no better than a utility outfielder, late inning defensive replacement. And the other guy, I havent heard much on. Now this trade reminds me of the days that the Braves used to fleece teams. Remember the bums the Braves gave up to get Fred McGriff? This could end up being that kind of trade.

Releasing Glavine, trading for a bonifide centerfielder with power, without paying an arm and a leg and not busting the payroll…..what a day.

Frank Wren and company…..WAY TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile, Jeff Franceour….another weak popout to right field. Looks like he is back to his normal ways.

Paul Lentz

June 3rd, 2009
8:03 pm

Also, Tommy Hanson gets called up and Kris Medlen goes to the bullpen. Interesting timing. I wasnt quite expecting that to happen. My thinking is that the Braves want to give Hanson 4-5 starts and see how he pitches at the big league level. If he can pitch well, and the other starters do not get hurt, then perhaps Frank Wren has a plan of action that includes trading a starting pitcher (Vazquez the most likely candidate) for a big right handed bat. If Vazquez is traded, then the Braves can put Medlen in his spot. I’m just speculating, but that is the only rational reason I can think of the Braves calling up Hanson right now. If Medlen had faltered on Saturday, then I could see bringing up Hanson. The timing leads me to believe that Frank Wren has the workings of another trade, but it all depends on how Hanson pitches this month at the big league level. Just a guess.

Ideally, if the Braves feel the need to get rid of a starter for a power right handed bat, then Kawakami would be the ideal candidate to get rid of. However I dont see any team falling for that.

Paul Lentz

June 3rd, 2009
8:04 pm

More good news. Nate McClouth has a very team friendly contract. His 3 year-$15.75 mil contract began this year. $2.5 mil this year, $4.5 mil in 2010, $7.75 mil in 2011, and $9.4 mil “team option” for 2012. Man the Braves made out big time on this deal. A bonifide Major League centerfielder with a very team friendly contract. This actually frees up big money for the Braves to either acquire a big right handed bat before the trade deadline….or…..go after someone in free agency. Remember, Garret’s $2.5 mil, Tim Hudson’s $11 mil ($12 mil option minus the $1 mil buyout), and if the Braves do not tender Franceour (another $.3.75 mil savings) all could come off the books at the end of the year. That is big time money to use to go after that elusive right handed power bat.

This trade gives the Braves big time flexibility.

CLTDawg

June 3rd, 2009
8:04 pm

Wren said they decided they would be a better team with Hanson instead of Glavine and gave Tommy G the choice to retire or be released. THAT is why Glavine asked to be released.

After letting him walk away to the Mets and letting Smoltz go, this is just typical. This sucks, not the way he should have been treated.

di

June 3rd, 2009
8:05 pm

It was a dumb contract to begin with. Pay him $1 million if he starts one game. That’s ridiculous. It should be something more like 10 starts. Then he would be playing.

BamaDon

June 3rd, 2009
8:05 pm

Enter your comments here

Vickie Carter

June 3rd, 2009
8:07 pm

I am embarrassed by the conduct of the Atlanta Braves toward Tom Glavine not just this time, which is beyond words, but also the first time when he wound up at the Mets. Also, when he tried to come back in 2007 the Braves wanted to put him on hold until it was what they wanted to talk about. He has tried not to leave twice, tried to comeback once, came back with a home town discount and the Braves have treated him like a stray dog – they might play with today or they might kick to the curb tomorrow. In baseball three strikes means you are out, well the Braves have 3 strikes against them where Glav is concerned and don’t deserve the respect as an organization that they are given. You don’t treat a sure Hall of Famer and a major corner piece of your organization’s history like Glavine has been treated and words like professional and class describe your organization. It is obvious that you were stringing Tommy along so you could make a deal – shame on you – Glavine deserves more respect than that! I have supported your events even when it was obvious you don’t have a clue what baseball fans are interested in when it comes to events like Fanfeast. I attended games and watched when you lost 100 games year after year. I have been a Braves fans since I was 5 years old (1966) now, not so much!

Vickie Carter

Falcon Fan

June 3rd, 2009
8:07 pm

Now, When will Brave Mgmt. get rid of Bobby Cox?

Reid Adair

June 3rd, 2009
8:10 pm

Frank Wren isn’t telling the truth – at least, not entirely. The Braves save more than $1 million by releasing Tom Glavine now.

I, for one, disagree wholeheartedly with this. Give the man a chance to finish his rehab and come back. For all that he gave the organization and the city of Atlanta (far more than should be discredited by his alleged actions in the 1994 strike), I believe he deserved that.

I also believe that if he had not been able to perform at the level of his own expectations, he would have walked away on his own.

I believe, and always will, that both he and John Smoltz should have had the opportuntity to do that in Atlanta. Frank Wren denied both of them that opportunity.

Traver

June 3rd, 2009
8:12 pm

IT HURTS TO SAY IT BUT IT IS TIME FOR MARK BRADLEY TO GO

Traver

June 3rd, 2009
8:12 pm

IT HURTS TO SAY IT BUT IT IS TIME FOR FRANK WREN TO GO

AJC

June 3rd, 2009
8:13 pm

Are the Braves going to wait until the 7th inning again tonight before they decide to hit the ball? Thanks for everything Tommy Glavine, but even if you’re healthy, your pitching hasn’t been very good the last few years. M-Brad is right, it was time….Boy that McLouth deal was a surprise. Maybe he can play left or right field if Schafer can turn his O around. I like it….And welcome to the bigs Hanson. Yippy kay yay!!!!

edward

June 3rd, 2009
8:13 pm

This is the worst. If Glavine asked for his release, why did he say he was ready to return to the majors after his last start? Unless he tore his shoulder getting out of bed this morning it sounds like horsepatties! I understood the reason he left the first time, but this time makes no sense…
As for the trade. I live in Pittsburgh and let me tell y’all something..McClouth is the real deal. I have been wishing we’d pick him up for a year now. The fact he has 4 years left is even sweeter. The defense just got 100% better over Schaffer. He is a player who can go and hit also. No more 209 average in center! Frenchy better watch his back and grow up fast, Wren is serious about getting rid of people who don’t perform..Or just people in general.
I wonder what the “baseball experts” saw when Tommy pitched 6 great innings? His fastball was never above 85 and it was there in his now last game. It really takes balls to send a 305 game winner packing when he is about to join the club after all that rehab.

Paul Lentz

June 3rd, 2009
8:14 pm

CLTDawg, if one of the other starters had faltered, then the Braves would have given Glavine a chance. However our starting pitching is not the problem. Basically the Braves had him do his rehab thing (after all they had already given him $1 mil in the spring). If someone had gotten hurt before now, then the Braves would have a need for Glavine. However our starters are healthy and both Hanson and Medlen can make a go at the 5th spot in the rotation. Basically Glavine was a 2 month, $1 mil insurance policy. Small price to pay.

Glavine nor Smoltz were complaining when the Braves paid both of them big money last year for only a few starts. Both were hurt most of last year, eating up valuable payroll dollars. This is a business. You sentimental Braves fans need to decide if you are either more loyal to the player or the team.

I am a Braves fan first. I have absolutely no complaints with the moves the Braves made today. The Braves did not give up any of the truly stud prospects today.

JTibb

June 3rd, 2009
8:17 pm

I’m a huge Braves fan now living in Miami and don’t get the games on TV here. Just reading about all this disturbing news from today. Those of you watching the game on TV, is Wren saying anything that makes sense of his decisions? Have either of the commentators asked the tough question of why the Glavine departure handled in such a way? Or why he just gave up 3 of our top prospects, one of whom is a top 100 national prospect, for 1 kid from the Pirates?

trey

June 3rd, 2009
8:18 pm

you are kidding aren’t you about saying it was time for him to go… the guy can think his way to more wins than hanson can win this year…mark my words – glavine will continue to pitch and will win this year— what a way for an organization to treat one of their player’s…this reaks so much about the almighty dollar it’s a joke…. and now they traded 3 players for the guy from the pirate’s… this isnt shear stupidity…. this team isnt good enough to win— you cant play and win on a bear budget which is what this team is now… i bet glavine winds up in boston and wins quite a few game’s….

sad to say people the end of an era is upon us… atlanta you now have a 500 team today, tomorrow and for the forseable future… medicrity is here to stay for awhile…

Nate in Maine

June 3rd, 2009
8:20 pm

The Braves gave up alot for Mclouth.. I am happy to get him but I hate trading our pitchers away like that

Nate in Maine

June 3rd, 2009
8:20 pm

Enter your comments here

fieldofdreams

June 3rd, 2009
8:20 pm

Doesn’t hurt me at all, to see Glavine CUT. Good riddance. We’re gonna make a strong run for the division. Thank goodness we’re not trying to do it with dead weight like Glavine strapped on our backs. Seems to me they still need another bat, however. Left field and right field are still black holes. As much as I like Vasquez, he seems like trade bait, for an outfielder.

NORRIS

June 3rd, 2009
8:21 pm

Its a business and Tom knows that. He left and showed no loyalty to our team just like smoltz did. Wrenn had to make the decision to make this team better or make a move for nostalgia. It is about the bottom line. Glavine was only pitching in the upper 70s. he most likely would have been rocked. Besides we would have had to pay him a lot of money if he had made that start and only pitched one inning. Lets say he pitched and they scored 8 runs in the first and he came out hurting. He made the start and his contract says that he makes $$ if he makes the start. sooooo…. its a no brainer.

Dianne Carter

June 3rd, 2009
8:22 pm

What a low class move on the Braves part. Wren needs a job where his bad decisions do not affect classy human beings. Tom Glavine has heart, something the decision makers with the Braves DO NOT HAVE. R E S P E C T in the Braves office just stinks. Tommy has always been a team player, a good leader and has shown his loyalicy and love for the Atlanta fams. My home is full of Braves collectibles and Tommy has the biggest corner, as well as, a corner of my heart. I AM SO DISAPPOINTED WITH THE BRAVES LOW CLASS TACTICS. THREE CHEERS FOR TOM GLAVINE !!!!!!!!!!!!

Paul Lentz

June 3rd, 2009
8:23 pm

I am so glad that you “sentimental” Braves fans do not run the Braves. The Braves paid BIG money to players last year who contributed very little because they were old and injured. Smoltz, Glavine, Hampton. You are talking $30 mil in salary to players who did very little. I could care less what those guys did in the past. I want to see the Braves win today. After this year, the Braves will have really great financial flexibility to improve the team even more. Right now, the Braves do not have any bad contracts on the books for 2010 or beyond.

Just let it go, Glavine and Smoltz are way past their prime. If the internet was around back in 1990 when Dale Murphy was traded, then many of you morons would have ripped Bobby Cox for trading Murphy. I loved The Murph. However trading him and giving David Justice a chance to play was ABSOLUTELY the right thing to do. And giving Tommy Hanson a chance to pitch could turn out to be the same thing.

If that Murphy trade wasnt made, the Braves do not make it to the World Series in 1991.
Meanwhile, another weak popout to right from Franceour. Back to normal.

Dr Henry / augusta

June 3rd, 2009
8:24 pm

Good piece MB!! As we were so aggressive in beating up Frank Wren and the Braves for some of the fiascos that happened during the offseason we must give a thumbs up for todays moves . . It was time for Glavine to go…It was past time for Jordan S. to be sent down . . Good move in bringing up Hansen . . We’ll have to wait and see how the Pittsburg deal pans out. . I’m not so sure that we didnt overpay for McClouth

NORRIS

June 3rd, 2009
8:25 pm

Does anyone remember when Glavine left the braves to go to the METS!!!
It was about money and not about loyalty or heart or any of that.
come on people. Its one thing to like the guy but dont let his likeability cloud your judgement for the better of our team.