Baseball Notebook

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Braves Dismantling Starting Rotation Again?

Bobby Cox and Frank Wren welcomed Javier Vazquez to the Braves last offseason but now a year later he and Derek Lowe who also signed with the Braves last offseason are being mentioned in trade talks a year later which makes no sense since they have an excellent starting rotation.

It makes no sense why the Braves would want to dismantle their starting pitching rotation. I know they have no place for Kenshin Kawakami in the rotation now that they have Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens, Javier Vazquez, Derek Lowe and Tommy Hanson ready for the 2010 season. Jurrjens and Hanson could be excellent starters for years to come.

The mere mention of Vazquez and Lowe in trade rumors tells me the Braves are not serious about competing in 2010. Vazquez and Lowe had 15-10 records to lead the Braves in wins. Vazquez had a much lower ERA with a 2.87 mark while Lowe posted a 4.67 ERA.

If their reason is to save money then why even bother playing the 2010 season? Jurrjens gave up only 186 hits in 215 innings, Vazquez gave up 181 hits in 219 innings, Hanson gave up 105 hits in 127 innings. Lowe gave up 232 hits in 194 innings.

Lowe is perturbed that the Braves are peddling him one year after signing him to a longterm contract and I can understand why he would be upset. Only Justin Verlander, Tim Lincecum and Zack Greinke had more strikeouts than the 238 posted by Vazquez. Now their are rumors that the Angels may be interested in acquiring Vazquez.

Vazquez has 2,253 lifetime strikeouts and at the age of 33 is the only active pitcher in the majors in striking distance of 3,000 strikeouts. If he records 200 strikeouts in 2010 he will have passed Hall of Famers Lefty Grove, Juan Marichal, Rube Waddell, Early Wynn, Robin Roberts, Sandy Koufax and Dennis Eckersley.

His 142-139 record may keep him from entering the Hall of Fame since he would have to win 15 games a season for 10 seasons to be eight wins short of 300 wins. Still the Braves will miss him if he is traded. If he or Lowe is traded then Kawakami would probably be the fifth starter.

I realize they need to bolster their offense but I see no reason to dismantle an excellent starting rotation. The successful Braves teams in their 14 season run of winning the NL East kept their starting pitching intact for the most part so why not use that formula for success again?

Note: Due to circumstances beyond my control the posts may be sporadic until January 6th.


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2 thoughts on “Braves Dismantling Starting Rotation Again?

  1. They’re not talking about trading both of them, the talk is one OR the other. The team is hoping to trade Derrick Lowe because he’s the one who was mediocre down the stretch and has the biggest contract ($15M). If they can’t move Lowe they may move Vasquez to clear salary (only $11Mish), but Lowe is the one they’re trying most to move. Subsequently if they do move him there is also talk of them trying to lock of Vaquez for a couple more years.

    Trade Lowe and you’ve got room in the budget to sign an OF and 1B that they need (if one doesn’t come back in the Lowe trade). Basically from a salary standpoint you can trade nobody and have Lowe in the rotation and KK in the bullpen with a league minimum 1B, or KK in the rotation and a decent 1st baseman.

    • Very good points…If they move anyone I hope it is Lowe even though I can’t believe they would sign him to a long term contract then trade him the next offseason. Finding a team to pick up some of his salary won’t be easy unless it somebody like the Yankees now that they didn’t get Halladay.

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