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Derek Lowe traded to the Indians

Oct 31, 2011, 12:59 PM EDT

Braves starting pitcher Lowe raises his glove over his face after a run scored in the third inning by Phillies Oswalt in Atlanta

We weren’t expecting that.

Jon Heyman reports that the Braves have traded Derek Lowe to the Cleveland Indians. Buster Olney says that the Braves will eat $10 million of the $15 million left on Lowe’s contract and that the Indians will send back “second tier” player(s) in return. UPDATE: The player going from Cleveland to Atlanta is left handed reliever Chris Jones. No, I dunno either.

Lowe had a horrendous 2011 season, going 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA and a WHIP of 1.508, though there is some suggestion that he was a touch better than that record and ERA would lead you to believe. Still, he’s not been good and he’s in a downward trajectory, as a good late run in 2010 helped salvage what, to that point, had been an equally suspect season.

It would appear that the best thing Lowe has going for him right now is durability, in that he’s made at least 32 starts a year for a solid decade. Which, while not nothing, is not much to pin one’s hopes on. Lowe will turn 39 on June 1st, after all, so you can’t really count on him having too many more bounceback seasons, can you?

That said, for the Indians, a $5 million gamble is not a terrible one. For the Braves, not having Derek Lowe throw actual pitches in baseball games and saving $5 million is pretty OK under the circumstances too.  So, while it’s too much to call this “win-win” we can probably call it “not-lose-not-lose.”

  1. uyf1950 - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    I’m jealous of the Braves. Now if the Yankees would only take the hint and “unload” AJ Burnett.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:12 PM

      It’s not about them getting a hit – it’s about the other 29 teams not wanting AJ Burnett for much more than a few million per season.

  2. halladaysbiceps - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Wow! Didn’t see this coming. The Braves are eating 10 million to get rid of him? That’s unlike the Braves. They usually don’t eat salary. It just goes to show you how bad he was last year.

    From the Indians aspect, at 5 million, they are getting a guy that will eat innings and maybe have a rebound season. I guess it’s worth the gamble.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:14 PM

      I have half a reason to wonder if they’d consider making Lowe a closer again, in response to a subpar year for Chris Perez and a concern about Lowe’s arm durability at age 38, despite his health consistency.

      • halladaysbiceps - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:16 PM

        The Indians would have to be desperate to pay a 38 year old guy 5 million in 2012 to close games for them. I would pretty much guarantee that they would use him as a starter for that type of coin.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:22 PM

        You’re probably right, but either decision wouldn’t surprise me.

  3. woodsmeister - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Sure, we lose a little money on each sale, but we make it up in volume!

  4. Chris St. John - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    Kyle Petter, J.D. Reichenbach, Francisco Jimenez, Harold Guerrero and Danny Jimenez are the only LH A-ball relievers in the Indians system. According to Keith Law and Buster Olney, that’s what they’re getting. My guess is either Petter or Reichenbach.

    • Chris St. John - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:17 PM

      Never mind, it’s Chris Jones. Completely whiffed on Kinston.

  5. ogre2010 - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    I’m so glad to see that he is gone from Atlanta!!

  6. sdelmonte - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    And so it begins. No time to bask in the glow of the World Series when the hot stove is already with us.

    • paperlions - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:39 PM

      Speak for yourself….I’m basking away.

  7. Panda Claus - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    I was actually hoping Lowe would make it to Baltimore. He wasn’t going to be as bad in 2011, so it was a relatively safe risk for Cleveland.

  8. natstowngreg - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    Plug one of the kids into the Braves’ rotation in place of Lowe, make it better.

    As a fan of one of the Braves’ NL East competitors, I will miss Derek.

  9. Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    Pleasantly surprised the Braves were able to find somebody willing to take on that much of Lowe’s contract. It’s never ideal to be paying a guy $10 million to play for another club, but I don’t think Frank Wren could’ve conducted this damage control much better. Atlanta has numerous seemingly better solutions waiting in the wings to join the rotation, and $5 million toward next season’s payroll is nothing to sneeze at when looking at the team’s finances.

    First baseball-related smile on my face since the Braves’ disastrous stretch run.

  10. baseballisboring - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Mehhh, more NL pitchers on the decline for Cleveland. I’m not sure Lowe is a good deal even at $5MM for an AL team…sure he’ll eat innings, but I imagine they expect to contend considering they just traded for Ubaldo too. Veteran presence?

  11. pbannard - Oct 31, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    Lowe is a fascinating study in fWAR versus bWAR. By fWAR, which I believe is based on FIP – how he theoretically should have done – he was a 2.5 win pitcher last year and was worth around $11.4 million (what a steal for Cleveland!). By bWAR, which I presume is based a bit more on what actually happened as opposed to what should have happened (and is likely to happen in the future), he was a -0.4 win pitcher last year (or should I say a 0.4 loss pitcher), and was worth somewhere in the region of -$2 million (what are the Indians thinking!). I think it’s interesting that the amount the Indians will actually pay him next year is smack dab in the middle of those two figures.

  12. cameron poe - Oct 31, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    Hey Cleveland,
    Good luck the booze hound has arrived! ahahhaha.

    And CONGRATS to my Braves for not sweating the money and getting that waste of a roster spot out of Atlanta.

  13. frenchysplatediscipline - Oct 31, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    This comes about 3 months and 1 blown WC chase too late.

    However, better late than never. So glad we found someone to take him and pay $5 mil. So much better than having to pay him the $15mil not to pitch next year.

  14. crash1582 - Oct 31, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    Don’t let the tomahawk hit ya… where the good lord split ya!!

  15. mgscott - Oct 31, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    Another terrible front office move by the Indians. Spending money just to try and make fans happy.

    • jtk1985 - Oct 31, 2011 at 4:23 PM

      5m for a starting pitcher is relatively cheap. Especially for a guy who has made atleast 30 starts for each year of the past decade. When you factor in that he is basically holding the seat for Carrasco (who will miss 2012 with TJ surgery) its not a horrific move.

      Now had the Indians picked up Sizemores 9m option I would have agreed with you.

  16. foreverchipper10 - Oct 31, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Chris Jones > Derek Lowe.

    Eh. Maybe not but having Lowe out of the starting rotation is a plus. That opens a spot for Minor (who I think should have had one this year) or maybe even Teheren. A lot of young arms in the farm system. This just opens a door for one of them.

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