So all those rumors that Atlanta Braves fans were fearing, are now in fact true.
Legendary Braves pitcher, John Smoltz has officially signed with the Boston Red Sox.
After posting 210 W and 154 SV in 21 with Atlanta, Smoltzy leaves after 21 years of service to better his chances of finishing his career a with a World Series ring.
"Smoltz will earn a $5.5 million base salary with the Red Sox, and can earn up to $5 million in an incentive clause. The incentives include $125,000 for his first day on the active roster, $500,000 if he is on the active roster on the last day of the season, and up to $4.375 million for the number of days he is on the major league roster during the season. Miscellaneous bonuses would come into play if he wins comeback player of the year, the Cy Young or other such awards. " ( http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/
Smoltz will likely start the season as the 4-5 starter, and gives the Red Sox (if healthy) the best pitching rotation in the league, head lined by Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield and the newly arrived, Brad Penny.
From a fantasy stand point, John Smoltz becomes an attractive late round pick in deep leagues or a guy to keep a watch on as a free agent. His win total will definitely rise, as well as his era and whip, if he return in early May, a 13-14 win season with a 3.70 era and 1.34 whip wouldn't be out of the question.
As a Braves fan this is beyond disappointing even more so then when Tom Glavine signed with the enemy, the New York Mets. Many Atlanta fans are flabbergasted at John's decision. I understand the reasoning for the move, and even though it's going to hurt to see Smoltz on the back of a Red Sox jersey I will take solace in the fact that his odds of ending the season with a championship are a lot higher now.
Brad Penny like Smoltz signed with the Red Sox after enduring arm injuries in the previous season,
"Penny signed a one-year contract worth a base salary of $5 million, but has innings-based performance incentives that could garner him an additional $3 million. Penny became a free agent after the Dodgers paid him a $2 million buyout rather than picking up his $9.25 million option. Penny, 30, is 94-75 in his career, with a 4.06 ERA and 1,032 strikeouts. He has spent his entire career in the National League." (http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/news/a
From a fantasy stand point Brad Penny is in the same boat as Smoltz. His era, whip and wins will most definitely rise, 15-16 w, and a 4.00 era, 1.35 whip are worth a late round flyer or early free agent pick up. In AL only leagues, Brad Penny is a must draft pitcher, but only as a #5 SP.
As stated in the article, this signing could well be one of the biggest steals of the free agent signing season.
All being told the Boston Red Sox have countered the New York Yankees extravagant spending spree by signing high risk/ high reward pitchers that should again make them the favourite of the East. 2009 will be a season to remember, especially the battle for AL East supremacy.