The year’s most head-scratching headline

Via MLB Trade Rumors:

Five Teams Interested In Derek Lowe

Lowe sounds pretty delusional about his future.

“I’ve heard the same thing from everyone,” said Lowe. “I want to be a starter and feel I have a lot left in being a regular starter in a rotation and making my 30-plus starts. I can still do that. It’s frustrating to see other starters who have come off injuries get a shot, and I’ve never been hurt and can still help a team. I’m sure things will get going for me in January. I want to pitch. I’m nowhere near ready to retire.”


D-Lowe traded to Cleveland … really

UPDATE: Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes says the Braves will pick up $10 million of Lowe’s $15 million salary. That gives FW another $5 million to play with this offseason — about $15 million in all. The Braves also receive southpaw Chris Jones, a low-level prospect. Great move!

For a minor league pitcher, reports Jon Heyman. Details to come.

FW sure moves fast.

Lowe as a Brave: 40-39, 4.57 ERA, 1.463 WHIP. Though he never missed a start to injury he failed to top 200 IP in any of his three seasons in Atlanta.

Stop telling me Derek Lowe didn’t suck

It’s hard for me to take advanced statistical measurements seriously when sabermetricians keep insisting Derek Lowe wasn’t all that bad.

Obviously, Lowe didn’t pitch anywhere nearly well enough to earn his $15 million dollar salary. But….he wasn’t nearly as awful as you might think. Sure, his ERA was 5.05, but his FIP was 3.70, and his xFIP was 3.65. Those are damn good numbers, actually better than Jair Jurrjens‘ on the season.

I’ve had it with the persistent dismissals of JJ’s performance. When healthy he’s been a rock but the statistically obsessed continue to attribute his good work to luck. Apparently JJ’s one lucky dude.

Now know acknowledging measurements like ERA and innings pitched qualifies me as a dinosaur but these are not irrelevant numbers.

Despite making 11 more starts Lowe pitched just 35 more innings than JJ. The soon-to-be highest-paid middle reliever in baseball never saw the 8th inning this season and made it through 7 just three times. Jurrjens completed two games and pitched past the 7th on six occasions.

Altogether JJ has pitched 671 innings for the Braves — nearly 100 more than Lowe. But Lowe has allowed 12 more hits. Their BB/9 IP ratio is virtually identical. Lowe’s WHIP: 1.463. JJ’s: 1.291

Apparently I’m easily fooled.

Based on Lowe’s production as a Brave (7.8 fWAR in three seasons), he’s slightly overpaid, assuming that 1 fWAR = $4.5 million. So he’s been worth $35.1 million, and made $45 million.

So Lowe’s worth $12 million a year!?! If that’s how the numbers crunch it’s hard for me to take the number crunchers seriously.

The case for trading Derek Lowe

Red suits D-Lowe

He’s been mediocre at best, and he’s not eating innings. Reinforcements are ready. Minor looked sharp his last time out, Teheran has been dominant since returning to Gwinnett (4-0, 1.00 ERA, 0.61 WHIP in June) and Kris Medlen might be ready by mid-August.

Lowe is clutch when it counts, Shane Reynolds the rest of the time. If the playoffs began tomorrow, would he even get a start? Over JJ, Hanson, Huddy, Beachy? I doubt it. He’s a fifth starter who makes more than the rest of the rotation COMBINED.

And there’s 2012 to consider. I wouldn’t classify his contract as an albatross, but it’s close. Do you relish the idea of entering next season with Lowe and Uggla as the Braves’ highest-paid players?

Despite his middling performance, a market exists The Yankees, Boston and Texas need a starter and they can swallow his contract. I wouldn’t require much, if anything, in return. A Jed Lowrie-type would suffice.

Fifteen million can buy you a solid bat or two — if not now, next year. Why blow the chance to fix a long-standing deficiency at minimal expense? There’s unlikely to be another such opportunity.

An ace at last?

It  took nearly two seasons, but since last September (when he won five starts with a 1.17 ERA), Derek Lowe is pitching like the ace he was signed to be.

Lowe tossed four scoreless today against the Cards and has yet to give up an earned run this spring. His strikeouts are also on the rise, with 35 K’s, against only six walks, in his last 39.2 IP.

Yanks ask about Huddy; Braves counter with Lowe

DOB links to this report, so I’ll assume it has some credibility.

In speaking to my Tampa sources, Brian Cashman continues to “burn up the phone lines” looking for pitching help. Yes, he did offer Kevin Millwood a minor league deal, but he was thinking bigger as he reached out to Atlanta and inquired about Tim Hudson.

The Braves don’t have interest in dealing Hudson who went 17-9 with a 2.83 ERA last season. As I mentioned before, they are willing to deal Derek Lowe, who is owed $30 million over the next two seasons. He will cost the Yankees a prospect haul that appears to be too expensive at this time.

I’d trade Lowe, but not just for prospects. And the Yanks’ premier young talent doesn’t appear to match up with the Braves needs. Like the Braves, the Steinbrenners have six prospects in BA’s Top 100 list — three catchers and three pitchers. The Braves seem high on their promising young SS, Eduardo Nunez, but he alone wouldn’t be enough of a return for Lowe

Brett Gardner, on the other hand, would suffice.

The Braves wouldn’t be playing Thursday without him

Too bad the innovator Jerry Glanville isn't coaching this squad!

If you had told me a month ago that D-Lowe would be starting Game 1 of the NLDS, I would’ve gone Beau Bock on Bobby. But who’s complaining now?

Lowe was named NL pitcher of the month, and deservedly so:5 wins in in 5 starts, 29 K’s, 3 BB in 30.2 innings pitched. Without him we’d be watching the Padres play the Phils — or not watching.

Back to the rotation for KK?

Soul Brother No. 11 may be back in the Braves’ rotation. He was recalled Monday as a precaution in case Derek Lowe is hurt.

Kawakami hasn’t shown much at Gwinnett, allowing 26 hits in 21 IP. But the dude seems to pitch to the competition, so maybe a pennant race will bring out his best.

Unfortunately, Cristhian Martinez was demoted to make room, but he’ll be back in a few days.

Open thread, 7.29, Braves vs. Ellis Valentines

I was a guest star on 'Fantasy Island'

I’ve become convinced that Derek Lowe is what he is — a modern-day Rick Mahler. Lowe’s average season, according to Baseball Reference: 11-9, 3.87 ERA, 171 IP, 172 HA, 50 BB and 111 K’s.

Mahler’s? 10-11, 3.99 ERA, 200 IP, 212 HA, 62 BB and 98 K’s.

Lowe’s slightly better, but $60 mil should get you more than a rich man’s Mahler.

The Braves’ highest-paid player needs to pitch much better than he has, especially if the Phils land Oswalt. Might as well start today.

A realistic Lowe trade proposal

Baltimore reportedly has interest, though I’m not so naive to think we could get their promising young LF Nolan Reimold, a right-handed slugger, in return. His back-up may be another story. And Felix Pie is younger with a higher upside.

The former Cubs prospect put together a fine second half for the O’s, batting .290 with a .497 slugging percentage. Pie swings from the left side but has other qualities the Braves lack: a gifted defensive outfielder with speed, for one.

And he still has the potential to be an impact player — not a bad return for Derek Lowe. Baltimore may be willing to trade Pie as they boast a potentially outstanding trio of flychasers: Reimold, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis.

We could also take on Ty Wigginton‘s $3.5 million contract as salary relief. Wigginton bats from the right side and can play first and third — not a bad option off the bench.


Closers cheap, starters pricey

Anyone read anything on this? Gonzo and Soriano are bargains and starters like Lackey — a good pitcher but more in the Lowe of a couple years ago mold than an unquestioned No. 1 — are fetching major dollars.

I don’t have much of a theory, other than that reliable starters are scarcer than good-not-great relievers. And relievers tend to be more erratic than high-quality starters. Maybe this bodes well for the home team’s effort to trade Lowe.