16 thoughts on “Looks official”

  1. I guess this is supposed to be good news, but I think it’s going to mean saying goodbye to Kevin Millwood and that’s really bad news. The Braves did the right thing by trying to get the draft picks and offering arbitration, but Greg has screwed them good by accepting. Now they will have to deal a pitcher who was better than Maddux last year and will be better every year in the future. Oh and now they get to pay $18 million dollars for Greg to make 28 five inning starts.

    Tom may have tried to stick it to the Braves by signing with the Mets, but Greg has actually done much more damage by hanging around.

  2. The Braves have such a wealth of good young arms in the minors–now at all levels, not just the lower divisions–and the demonstrated ability to develop their pitchers at the major league level, that a trade of any of the starters for legitimate young offensive talent (which does not seem to be overly abundant in the system)–J. D. Drew comes to mind–would be a good thing.

  3. I agree in principal. I had been hoping and hoping for weeks that Maddux would stay, but after the Ortiz/Byrd day, coming to the realization that it may be a choice of Maddux vs. Millwood, i had totally turned around.

    Here’s hoping that JS realizes, as most people on this site seem to, that over the next 5 years or so, Millwood looks to be, if not the better pitcher hands-down, at least the better bargain than the big guy. Maybe they can work out a backloaded three-year deal with Maddog which would allow all the numbers to jive.

    Then again, if all we can manage is trading Ortiz or Marquis/Giles, we may not be able to wiggle much on the offensive (hitting) end of things, which would be, well…offensive.

  4. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but the Byrd deal is incredibally backloaded. He gets 3 million this year, and then next year is a 7 million player option. It seems as if the deal was designed to take on an increase in Maddux’s contract. Since he is essentially taking the Albie Lopez money, it gives the Braves a couple million dollars worth of leeway. Granted, Maddux is likely to get more than a $2 million raise, but every little bit helps.

  5. a pitcher who was better than Maddux last year

    I don’t know what team you’ve been watching.

    Oh and now they get to pay $18 million dollars for Greg to make 28 five inning starts.

    He pitched plenty deep into games once he got healthy, and Millwood has made a habit of falling apart after six strong innings, so, again, what team have you been watching?

    Tom may have tried to stick it to the Braves by signing with the Mets, but Greg has actually done much more damage by hanging around.

    There wouldn’t be an issue if not for the expensive mediocrities acquired earlier in the week, so which contract(s) are the real problem?

  6. I’ve got the Braves at 65 million committed for 2003 as of now with the following players still to be settled with (estimate):

    Greg Maddux (15M)
    Kevin Millwood (7M)
    Rafael Furcal (1.5M)
    Julio Franco (.5M)
    Marcus Giles (.3M)
    Henry Blanco (1.5M)
    Mark DeRosa (.4M)
    Darren Bragg (.6M)
    Keith Lockhart (.75M)
    Jason Marquis (.3M)
    Kerry Ligtenberg (1M)
    Ray King (.6M)

    About another 30 million which brings the payroll to around 95 million. Either Kasten was blowing smoke when he talked about reducing payroll, or we’ll need to trade 10 million just to pay the 5 million for more offense (unless JS can wrangle Nick Johnson or Hank Blalock for Marquis + prospect, and keep the payroll at 2002’s level).

    FWIW, I think the real albatross is Javy’s deal, which pays him a cool 7 million this year.

  7. I agree with David about the problem that Javy’s deal causes. Its a lot of money for performance that will be ~ if all breaks well ~ slightly above average. We’ve talked about it here and elsewhere, but the Braves money would have been much better served on a Bobby Estella / Ramon Castro type player and putting the savings into an offensive force at one of the positional black holes.

    With the new CBA’s minimum salary of $300k, I expect Giles and Marquis to come in above that and wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Marquis get close to $1m.

    Lockhart and Bragg have rejected the Braves offer of salary arbitration

  8. I’ve been trying to figure out where the love for Millwood and hatred for Maddux is coming from.

    It can’t be the contract negotiations. Maddux originally signed with the Braves a decade ago, foresaking more money from NY to come to Atlanta. Since then, his negotiations have been largely under the radar screen with plenty of fan speculation, but little or no public comments demanding pay equal to his status as one of the 5 to 10 best pitchers EVER. This time around, there was mild speculation coming from comments by his agent that he was seeking a 5 year deal. But isn’t that the job of an agent? What is he supposed to do? Say how he hopes to get a fraction of what Chan Ho Park gets in years and dollars?

    Then there is the on-field comparison to Millwood. Maddux, last year pitched “only” 199.1 innings; Millwood, the year before, hurled 121. Over the last two years, Maddux leads 432.1 to 338 and over the last three, 681.2 to 550.2. Tell me again which is less durable?

    That’s quantity. Quality, Maddux has a huge lead also. In Millwood’s five years as a starter, he’s been essentially a league average pitcher three years (2001, 2000, 1998), a very good pitcher once (2002) and a great one once (1999). In those same five years, the only year Millwood’s ERA was even within half a run of Maddux was 1999 and he’s been more than a run a game worse in 3 of the 5.

    So we’ve got a pitcher who pitches more and when he pitches, pitches better. Don’t swallow the AOL line about expenses ~ pay for excellence. If the choice is between Maddux, even a 37 year old Maddux, and the present version of Millwood, its a no-brainer.

    Now that doesn’t mean that I want Millwood gone. I think that he’s certainly the #2 or, at worst, the #3 guy going into the season. But clearly, he ain’t the #1.

  9. Can someone please explain to me why Keith Lockhart declined arbitration. I mean, I’ll be the happiest man alive if Medavoy skates, but where exactly does he think he’d skate to?

  10. He doesn’t want to anger his meal ticket. Arbitration contracts aren’t guaranteed beyond six weeks, or something like that. Rasputin is certain that he’ll make the team out of spring training, in which case he’d probably have a guaranteed contract when the season starts. And why should we doubt that?

  11. bamadan,

    It’s not that I “hate” Greg Maddux. He has certainly given the Braves great value for their money in the past. All I’m saying is that it’s time to let him go now. His cost at this point in his career will outweight his value to the team. Even though you haven’t, the other 29 teams have figured this out and that’s why Greg was left with arbitration. The market for a 37 year old finesse pitcher who pulls himself out of the game at the first sign of trouble ain’t what it used to be.

    I think some of us out here feel a little put off by how delicate Greg was with himself last year as he was angling for a multiyear deal. Anytime he felt the slightest twinge he came out. If he wasn’t feeling “right” that day he wouldn’t start and the Braves would have to emergency callup Jung Bong or John Ennis. Bobby Cox had to scramble the other starter’s rest patterns numerous times to work around Greg’s “injuries”.

    It was clear that Greg was doing his best to protect himself and try to position himself for the 5 year, $65 million jackpot. I guess it would be ironic that all the things he did to try and get the contract may have been what actually kept him from getting the contract.

  12. Alas, you are likely correct Mac. Keith Lockhart will forever play Homer Simpson to Giles/DeRosa’s Frank Grimes.

  13. Robert, I find it strange that “If he wasn’t feeling “right” that day he wouldn’t start” and yet he managed to start 34 games, a figure topped only 3 times in the NL last year.

    And “anytime he felt the slightest twinge he came out” seems like its rather mistating the case. OK 199.1 IP is less than he had in previous years, but there weren’t 10 pitchers in the NL that had 10% more. 200 IP is may not be alot to hurlers of a generation ago, but it is a good total in today’s game.

    Yeah, he wasn’t as durable as he has been in the past when he had 14 straight years finishing in the top 10 in the league in IP. But you are grossly exagerating the case. Add in second in the NL in ERA and adjusted ERA and there ain’t more than a handful of pitchers of any age who are better risks for 2003 than Greg Maddux.

  14. If he wasn’t feeling “right” that day he wouldn’t start and the Braves would have to emergency callup Jung Bong or John Ennis. Bobby Cox had to scramble the other starter’s rest patterns numerous times to work around Greg’s “injuries”.

    Are you high? He missed his first two turns on the DL, came out of his second start of the season after one inning, then had one start pushed back the rest of the season. And pitching on three days’ rest the Sunday before the ASB gained a start back.

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