The Phillies got a taste of Derek Lowe in the playoffs last season. Now, it looks as if they'll see plenty more of him this season as the Atlanta Braves have finalized a four-year, $60 million agreement with the veteran right-hander.
We'll look at the Braves potential rotation down below. First, though, it is now apparent why the Phillies never seemed to be serious players for Lowe, despite their interest in bringing the sinker-baller to the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park. While Ruben Amaro might not be as rigid as his predecessor was when it comes to signing pitchers to long-term deals, Lowe didn't seem like the ideal candidate to break the "Three-years-or-under" philosophy the club has taken since Pat Gillick took the reigns, meaning the Braves will be paying $15 million a year to a pitcher who is close to turning 40.
That said, Lowe has never spent time on the disabled list and has started at least 32 games in each of the last seven seasons. Meanwhile, his ERA has been under 4.00 in each of the last four seasons.
While the Braves will be without some big names this season - Tim Hudson is sidelined with elbow surgery; John Smoltz and Mike Hampton have signed elsewhere - their rotation appears a lot deeper and more dependable this season.
I've got an email in to some people in Atlanta who can speak with more authority on the Braves' potential rotation, but here is one glimpse at home it might look. Obviously, the biggest wild card is Kenshin Kawakami, the Japanese star whom the Braves have agreed to terms with. While he put up some monster numbers in Japan, he has thrown more than 200 innings just once in his 11-year career and last season threw just 117 1/3 innings.
1. Derek Lowe (14-11, 3.25 ERA)
2. Jair Jurrjens (13-10, 3.68 ERA)
3. Javier Vazquez (12-16, 4.67 ERA)
4. Jorge Campillo (8-7, 3.91 ERA)
5. Kenshin Kawakami (9-5, 2.30 ERA)
The Phils were reportedly present at a session held by lefthander Eric Milton, who spent the 2004 season with the club. Milton, 33, has not pitched since undergoing Tommy John Surgery during the summer of 2007.
Chan Ho Park obviously does not subscribe to the conventional wisdom that he will end up in the Phillies bullpen. The Associated Press is reporting today that Park has resigned from his spot on South Korea's entrant into the World Baseball Classic.
"As I'm going to the Phillies," Park said, "I will do my best there to achieve my goal of being a starter."