Tag:Derek Lowe
Posted on: October 13, 2010 3:40 pm

Ready, Fredi? Braves make Gonzalez official

Fredi Gonzalez is smart, he's coached under Bobby Cox, the Braves love him (front office and players alike) and he's got a veteran manager's pedigree.

There's only one thing not working in his favor, and it will be no small obstacle for Gonzalez to overcome: That old maxim, you never want to be the man who follows The Man.

Following Cox in Atlanta? It will be like following John Wooden at UCLA (poor Gene Bartow), Don Shula with the Miami Dolphins (Jimmy Johnson couldn't replicate the success), Tommy Lasorda with the Dodgers (hello Bill Russell, sacrificial lamb).

Not only did Cox guide the Braves to those 14 consecutive NL East titles (discounting the strike-shortened 1994 season) and the 1995 World Series title, but his greater legacy while moving to fourth on the all-time managerial wins list might be this: You never heard any player who passed through the Braves clubhouse over the years utter a negative word about Cox. None. Ever.

What a testament to Cox in the immediate aftermath of Game 4 of the NL Division Series: The Turner Field crowd giving him a prolonged standing ovation, and the San Francisco Giants hitting the "pause" button on their on-field celebration long enough to stop, face the Braves dugout and give Cox a standing ovation of their own. What a show of spontaneity and class.

Into this Grand Canyon-sized opening steps Gonzalez, who was unceremoniously dumped by the Marlins last summer when owner Jeffrey Loria's lust for Bobby Valentine apparently got the best of him.

Gonzalez was the Braves' third-base coach from 2003-2006 and, before that, in 2002, he managed their Triple-A Richmond club.

This is a man with intimate knowledge of the Braves' system -- the players, the way they do things, the culture. Even after leaving to manage the Marlins in 2007, Gonzalez lived in the Atlanta area in the winters and several times a week would meet Cox and other Braves coaches for breakfast.

So, the transition from Cox and Gonzalez should be seamless. Part of that will be because the Braves, as you would expect, handled the entire transition with class. From Cox's retirement to refusing to discuss Gonzalez until after one last, final Cox news conference on Wednesday, the Braves hit all the right notes.

Now, it's up to Gonzalez. We don't know whether Chipper Jones will make it back next year from his knee injury, but we do know the cupboard is fairly well stocked for the new manager, from pitchers Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe and Tommy Hanson to everyday players such as Martin Prado, Jason Heyward and Brian McCann.

In Atlanta, the prima donnas are at a minimum. Presumably, Gonzalez will not have a petulant Hanley Ramirez problem on his hands. And if he does, we know how he'll respond: In one of his finest moments as Marlins manager, he benched Ramirez when the shortstop resorted to dogging it.

In two of Gonzalez's three full seasons in Florida -- 2008 and 2009 -- he got more out of the Marlins than they had a right to expect. He'll have more resources in Atlanta -- bigger payroll, more tradition and established veteran players.

Replacing Cox will be no easy task, but in so many ways, Gonzalez is inheriting an ideal situation. Let's see what the man can do.

Posted on: December 7, 2009 1:38 pm

Twins to continue talks with Pavano into tonight

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Twins continue their dialogue with veteran pitcher Carl Pavano and, though talks so far have not led to a contract, the veteran right-hander is expected to accept the Twins' offer of salary arbitration by tonight's midnight EST deadline.

Though a handful of other clubs have shown interest in Pavano, sources told CBSSports.com, his clear preference is to return to the Twins because they have a chance to win and he enjoyed his stint there last August and September.

The thinking if he does accept arbitration is that, once salary figures are exchanged, he and the Twins still could agree on a two-year deal before the arbitration date later this winter. Pavano went 14-12 with a  5.10 ERA in 33 starts for Cleveland and Minnesota in 2009. Perhaps most attractively, he worked 199 1/3 innings.

Tom O'Connell, Pavano's agent, declined to comment on specifics Monday afternoon here. He and the Twins are scheduled to meet again tonight.

"We'll let the arbitration process play out," O'Connell said.

If the Pavano talks fall through, the Twins' next choice is believed to be free agent left-hander Jarrod Washburn.

Other items:

-- Atlanta hopes to land a middle-of-the-order bat by the time it leaves Indianapolis this week, and the Braves have made it known that they will trade either one of two starting pitchers to get it, Javier Vazquez or Derek Lowe.

-- The Dodgers are pushing hard to trade for a starting pitcher. Among others, they have approached Pittsburgh about Paul Maholm, and the Pirates also have indicated a willingness to clubs to listen to offers on Zach Duke.

-- The Orioles are looking for a third baseman and a closer.

-- Florida is looking to trade two of its three arbitration-eligible relievers, Matt Lindstrom, Renyel Pinto and Leo Nunez.


Posted on: January 13, 2009 12:35 pm

Braves agree to terms with Derek Lowe

On a day when Atlanta legend John Smoltz was being introduced in Boston, the Braves hope they regained their footing by coming to terms with free agent starting pitcher Derek Lowe.

The deal, which is not expected to be finalized until after Lowe undergoes a physical examination on Wednesday, will run four years and pay Lowe $60 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract.

Lowe's marks the third new starting pitcher arrival of the winter for the Braves -- and the second this week -- and will help soothe an unusually rancorous winter for an organization that rarely has dealed in controversy.

Atlanta's made-over rotation now includes Lowe, Jair Jurrjens, Javier Vazquez (acquired from the Chicago White Sox this winter) and Kenshin Kawakami (a Japanese free agent who will be introduced in Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon). The fifth starter likely will come from a group including Jo-Jo Reyes, Charlie Morton and Jorge Campillo.

Heading into the winter, the Braves were determined to add at least two starting pitchers, and they explored several avenues. They worked to acquire Jake Peavy from San Diego for more than six weeks before that ultimately failed. They romanced free agent A.J. Burnett hard before the right-hander took the New York Yankees' money. They failed to re-sign Mike Hampton, watching him depart for Houston.

Meantime, the Braves also took a failed run at free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, who wound up re-signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. That, though, came only after a bitter public dispute in which the Braves said they reached a verbal agreement with Furcal, after which Atlanta president John Schuerholz blasted the agent, Paul Kinzer, promising never to do business with his agency and calling it "a disgrace."

Atlanta still would like to add another bat to its lineup, probably an outfielder. But in agreeing to terms with Lowe, 35, the Braves now have solidified their rotation with a right-hander who has worked 200 or more innings in five of the past seven seasons. Lowe has thrown 180 or more innings in all seven of those seasons.

With the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer, Lowe went 14-11 with a 3.24 ERA in 211 innings. Over his past 10 starts, he was 6-1 with a 1.27 ERA. He helped pitch the Dodgers into the postseason in two of the past three years after helping the Boston Red Sox win a World Series in 2004.

Posted on: December 10, 2008 10:29 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2008 4:56 am

Burnett, Lowe on deck after Sabathia

LAS VEGAS -- The expectation is, with CC Sabathia now off the board, the path is cleared for other pitchers to begin signing. And right-handers A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe are in prime position to move quickly.

Negotiations intensified Wednesday for each of them, according to sources with knowledge of the talks, so much so that either -- or both -- could sign soon.

The New York Yankees are in hard on both, which could make life miserable for the Atlanta Braves where Burnett is concerned. The Braves arrived at these meetings with the intention of doing everything they could to sign the right-hander, according to a person with knowledge of Atlanta's thinking.

But the Yankees are pushing hard enough with a five-year offer, according to a person close to the talks, that it could hike the salary beyond the Braves' capability. Burnett is expected to command somewhere between $16 and $17 million a season, which might result in four years in the $64-$68 million range or five years in the $80-$85 million range.

The Braves were at four years for Burnett and reluctant to go to a fifth year, which could leave Burnett with a decision of whether to take a shorter term deal (four years) worth a little more money per year or a longer term deal (five years) worth a little less money per year but more money overall.

Early Thursday morning, a source with knowledge of the negotiations said that Burnett has reduced the field of interested teams down to three -- the Yankees, the Braves and Toronto.

Burnett exercised his opt-out clause to escape from a five-year, $55 million deal with Toronto at season's end. He was three years and $31 million in at the time.

Darek Braunecker, Burnett's agent, has always believed he could command a five-year deal for Burnett, though the opening bidding started at four years. Braunecker agreed that Sabathia's agreement should break the current logjam, but said he couldn't pinpoint how quickly the market will free up.

"It's hard to say," Braunecker said here Wednesday. "Obviously, that's kind of an important piece to determine what the market will bear and who remains in the mix and where the money could be headed. It's probably beneficial."

With the average annual value (AAV) of the Sabathia contract at $23 million a year, Burnett, Lowe and perhaps Ben Sheets would slot in accordingly. The New York Yankees and Texas have expressed interest in Sheets.

Meantime, even though the Yankees bumped Sabathia's deal up to seven years and $161 million from their original offer of six years and $140 million, the AAV is less. In the six-year offer, it was $23.3 million.

What does that mean? Well, for one thing, the Yankees, according to sources, remain interested in signing two more starting pitchers even after bagging Sabathia. And their resources still seem strong. The Yankees told Braunecker that Sabathia was completely separate from Burnett, who will turn 32 next month, and that one was not related to the other in negotiations.

"We've known all along that they intended to sign CC and another pitcher," Braunecker said. "The deals were always independent of each other."

Meantime, Atlanta was far down the path in talks with Burnett before Wednesday afternoon, when the Braves believe the Yankees increased their offer to five years.

Could there be a resolution with Burnett by, say, the end of the night?

"Anything is possible if the right deal presents itself," Braunecker said.

Lowe, aside from the Yankees, is being courted by Philadelphia and the New York Mets, and if they fail to land Burnett, the Braves could turn their attention Lowe's way. Boston also has expressed interest in Lowe, but the Red Sox right now have other priorities.

Lowe, 35, has some interest in returning to Boston, said a source with knowledge of his thinking, but it is not a priority for him. Meantime, despite the Los Angeles Dodgers' casting about for starting pitching, Lowe has no interest in returning there.

Regarding whether Sabathia's arrival would make the Yankees more attractive for Lowe or any other player, Scott Boras, his agent, said, "I think it gives payers more of a road map as to where the Yankees are going. If I was a baseball player and one team had CC Sabathia on it, that would be very welcome."

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com