Atlanta Braves payroll and future contracts, part one: starting pitchers
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After seeing our top prospects come up this year and do well (especially the bullpen), I wanted to focus an article on next year and what that roster could look like. If I was a GM, my favorite part of the job would be the offseason and building a lineup through trades or bringing up top prospects. I know it’s a tad bit early to start looking at this, but with September coming around the bend and our prospects getting the September call-up, I find it appropriate to examine which ones will be here next year. These are just my thoughts, so feel free to prove me wrong.
This year’s opening day payroll: $91,044,524.
The first segment will be on starting pitchers, then batters and finishing it up with the bullpen.
SP Derek Lowe (age 38). Current stats: 8-12 record with a 4.63 ERA in 28 games; 114 Ks in 157 innings while giving up 171 hits and walking 59; 1.462 WHIP and a horrendous 3.4 walks per nine and a low 6.5 strikeouts per nine. In his last 10 games, Lowe is an ugly 4-6 with a 5.50 ERA.
Notes: Lowe is overpriced (and declining to boot!) and isn’t going anywhere unless the Braves tack on some cash in a trade this winter. I can see the Braves trying hard to trade him and, in the end, I believe they will trade him to an AL team, probably an AL Central team. It’s too early to say this was a failed signing by Frank Wren because he was one of the reasons the Bravos made the playoffs last year with his terrific September. If he can do it again this year, and pitch well into the postseason, it will only be a win-win for the Braves, as his stock would go up. Nonetheless, he will be traded. Too many prospects waiting, and the Braves basically got rid of pitching icon Tom Glavine to make room for Hanson, so why wouldn’t they do the same to Lowe?
SP Tim Hudson (age 35). Current stats: 13-8 in 177 innings with one complete game and a 3.10 ERA. Has a 1.107 WHIP and 2.80 K/BB ratio. In his last 10 starts, Hudson is 6-2 with a 2.41 ERA.
Notes: Hudson isn’t the most talented pitcher on the staff, but he sure is the most dependable. If I had a playoff game on the line, he would be the one I would want to toe the rubber. Tim had a great year last year and is playing better than his career numbers this year. Maybe he’s getting wiser? Tim’s a competitor and a mentor to the younger pitchers, so expect him to stick around, although it wouldn’t surprise me to hear his name come up in trade rumors.
SP Jair Jurrjens (age 25). Current stats: In 22 games, Jurrjens has a 13-5 record and sports a 2.71 ERA. In his last 10 starts, Jair is 5-2 with a 3.50 ERA.
2012: Arbitration. My guess would be around $4-6M
Notes: Jurrjens had a stellar first half and fell off the wagon as soon as the green flag was released after the break, although he has settled down recently. Sports analysts stuck by their predictions that Jurrjens couldn’t keep up the pace, and they were right. He doesn’t strike out many guys and, sooner or later, the balls will find holes. Jurrjens is a bit injury prone, but who isn’t on the Braves? He’ll be a solid number-two next year.
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