Not every failure is a function of poor design. Yes, the Braves overpaid for Derek Lowe, but you always overpay for free agents. (That’s why they’re free agents — because the team that had them and therefore knows them best decided they weren’t worth their asking price.) The Braves paid high to buy Lowe for the best of reasons: They needed him.
Let’s return to the dark days of 2008. The Braves went 72-90, their worst record since the pre-worst-to-first 1990, because they ran out of starting pitching. John Smoltz got hurt. Tom Glavine, back after his New York exile, got hurt. Mike Hampton, as ever, got hurt. Tim Hudson got hurt and needed Tommy John surgery. Matters were so dire that the journeyman Jorge Campillo started 25 games, second-most among Braves behind the rookie Jair Jurrjens.
Frank Wren, the Braves’ general manager, entered the offseason determined not to let what happened in ‘08