Posted on: March 5, 2012 3:48 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 3:54 pm
LAKELAND -- If it's possible, Prince Fielder seems even more boisterous and more animated than ever before now that his new $214-million, nine-year contract is behind him and the Tigers are his future. You've never seen anyone so thrilled to be in Detroit.
"This is a blessing,'' Fielder said. "It's a dream come true, even though I didn't even dream about it.''
Fielder, who resided in Detroit while his father Cecil starred for the Tigers, added that "it really hasn't sunk in yet'' that he's a Tiger.
Fielder is already starting on his own legend. He hit a home run in batting practice that veteran Detroit News Tigers beat writer Tom Gage measured as 611 feet (including the roll). he hit a home run in the opener here at Joker Marchant, crashing one about 25-feet up off the light tower in right field, and after he said, "I'm just getting loose.''
Folks around the Tigers remember when Prince came to hit for them as a draft-eligible player a decade ago and more consistently hit the ball over the fence than most of their real players. But alas, the Tigers had the eighth pick that year, and Fielder went to the Brewers one pick ahead. (With Fielder gone, the Tigers picked first baseman Scott Moore, who has seven lifetime homers and is in Astros camp after signing a minor-league contract this winter).
Technically, Fielder is here not because of his dream but because of Tigers owner Mike Ilitch's dream. Ilitch, 83, has yet to win a World Series as Tigers owner, and he has shown he will do whatever it may take to rectify that. The loss of Victor Martinez after what is described as a freak training injury that wrecked his knee when his front foot gave out while shuffling is all it took to put Fielder on Ilitch's radar.
The loss of Martinez meant weakened lineup protection for incumbent superstar Miguel Cabrera. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said V-Mart's absence conjured up images of a steady stream of intentional walks for Cabrera. So to Dombrowski it was really like the loss of "one a half hitters.'' Ilitch could not stand to see his team weakened, so he made sure to make it better.
"He is in a situation where he wants to win,'' Dombrowski said about Ilitch. "He is also very cognizant he has a good club, so he's in a situation where he's aggressive.''
Aggressive? Some other teams may claim $214 million over nine years is foolhardy for the productive and jubilant yet stocky Fielder. However, Ilitch has been aggressive before, and it has ususally paid off. It did with Magglio Ordonez, and before that with Pudge Rodriguez.
For Fielder, before V-Mart hurt himself, there was no thought about retruning to Detroit. The leaders for him appeared to be the Dodgers, who offered $160-million plus over seven years and might have gone to an eighth year, and the Orioles, who have a hard time attracting GMs or players. The Nationals and Rangers were among many more interested teams but some of those other teams were reluctant to go eight years, much less nine.
Fielder said of Ilitch, "He wanted to get it done. He was the only guy to really show that.''
The Ordonez and Rodriguez signings came in the years before big stars dreamed of coming to Detroit. Fielder figures Detroit is perfect, and not just because he spent his formative years there (from age 5 to 11). He wants to win, and the Tigers have as good a chance as anyone these days. Also, it probably doesn't hurt that the American League team will give him a chance to DH in the final years of his nine-year deal.
"I remember the years (in Detroit). It was awesome,'' Fielder declared of the time he spent there (the Fielders lived in Grosse Pointe). "Hopefully, I can make some new memories.''
The negotiation, though it took well into January, is the first positive memory for Prince. There were definitely some anxious moments, but Fielder is better equipped than most to handle those. Speaking of his agent Scott Boras, Fielder said, "One thing Scott doesn't do is lie. He said at (age) 19 what would happen if I stayed focused. He was right.''
Perhaps, but no one could have predicted he'd back in Detroit.
Posted on: March 4, 2012 3:12 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 3:22 pm
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Some might say Tigers superstar Miguel Cabrera is heroic, generous or at the very least team-oriented for giving up first base at a moment's notice and moving to third so the team could sign top free agent Prince Fielder. Not Cabrera, who doesn't see it that way.
"I never had a position, so what's the difference?'' Cabrera said, applying sound logic.
Cabrera actually came to Detroit as a third baseman but was soon switched to first base, where Carlos Guillen was struggling with the nuances of that position. Now Cabrera is going back to third. No matter what happens here -- and he's off to a slow start, with an error here Sunday -- he's the third baseman.
"I feel good [about it],'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He's my third baseman, I like writing his name into the lineup every day. It is what it is.''
What it appears to be is an interesting little imperfection for us to write about on an otherwise superior Tigers team. And it probably is pretty small in the scheme of things. Cabrera has excellent hands and a true arm.
The only issue is his movement, which is undeniably limited. Cabrera was slow going to his left to try to field a grounder by the Braves' David Ross on Sunday, and he wound up booting the ball -- appearing to strain to bend over.
Cabrera joked before the game that he is 330 pounds; he actually is about average for him, somewhere in the high 200s. The Tigers do not seem at all displeased by his shape, round but reasonable.
Cabrera may seem young, but he works hard and he has veteran infielder Rafael Belliard here to work on his technique with him.
"I need to work on it every day. I need to work hard,'' Cabrera said.
The main thing, Belliard said, is to be ready. The ball gets to a third baseman faster than anywhere else on the diamond. Belliard pointed out Cabrera played shortstop at one point, but conceded that was a long time ago. It's even been a couple years for third base. It's a good thing they have all spring.
"We're not asking him to win a Gold Glove,'' Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said.
Even if he can't come close to major-league average even after a long spring of grounders, he's not coming out of games for defense late in games.
"He's a star. I'm not taking my star out,'' Leyland said. "I think that would send the wrong message to Miguel Cabrera, and I'm not doing it.''
More than anyone, Leyland understands the psyche of his players and the importance of it vs. an inning or two of slightly improved defense. That's the right call.
Dombrowski pointed out that Cabrera volunteered to play third base in interleague games last year, and he would have played third in National League cities had they made the World Series. Cabrera has a ways to go to become proficient again. But at least he is willing. That's maybe half the battle.
Posted on: February 23, 2012 3:31 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 3:44 pm
The Angels and Marlins spent plenty, the Astros stood pat, and the Mets did worse than that. Here they, one through 30, from most improved team to least improved.
1. Angels. Anytime you add Albert Pujols when you don't really need a first baseman, that's quite a luxury buy. Maybe 10 years are too many, but he'll obviously make a major impact in the first years of that deal. C.J. Wilson gives them as good a first four as just about anyone. Plus, he comes directly from the main competitor.
2. Marlins. Jose Reyes is a monster get, when healthy, Mark Buehrle fits as the perfect veteran lefthander to pitch behind Josh Johnson and Heath Bell is a very good closer. Ozzie Guillen spices things up. Much more interesting team as they move to their new park.
3. Diamondbacks. Loved that they didn't rest on their laurels. Trevor Cahill bolsters their rotation and Jason Kubel their lineup. Also tried hard for Hiroki Kuroda, offering him $13 million, $3 million more than he got from the Yankees. Terrific effort by a team in an area hit hard by the economic downturn.
4. Nationals. I don't love Gio Gonzalez's 1.48 lifetime road WHIP, but he's a talented, young lefthanded starter who's exactly what they needed. Of course, they still could use a center fielder.
5. Yankees. Hiroki Kuroda is the solid starter they needed, and Michael Pineda has a chance to be better than that, especially if he masters his changeup. Jesus Montero will be a mega star but they needed the pitching, so it was a worthwhile gamble. A.J. Burnett is addition by subtraction.
6. Rockies. Michael Cuddyer is a huge get, even if he did cost $31.5 million over three years. Jeremy Guthrie steps in as the Opening Day starter and Tyler Chatwood has a chance, though rotation questions still remain. Casey Blake might not have a lot left at third base, but super prospect Nolan Arenado looks to be close.
7. Rangers. Yu Darvish is going to be better than Wilson. They flirted with Prince Fielder, but came up a few years short. Had they pulled that one off, too, they would have easily topped this list. A lefthander in the pen wouldn't have hurt, either.
8. Rays. Carlos Pena will bring a lot more punch than Casey Kotchman, and if healthy, Luke Scott brings more still. Somehow, they find a way.
9. Blue Jays. Sergio Santos, Francisco Cordero and Darren Oliver represent a nice bullpen upgrade over Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch. Never made the huge deal folks were expecting, though.
10. Reds. They gave up a lot for Matt Latos, a talented pitcher who'll have to adjust going from pitching-firendly PETCO Park to Great American Ballpark. The pen is better with Ryan Madson in as the closer and strong lefty Sean Marshall over from Chicago. Looks like a contender.
11. Tigers. Owner Mike Ilitch gets props for the $214-million, nine-year band-aid he bought in Fielder after Victor Martinez's brutal knee injury.
12. Phillies. They imported Jonathan Papelbon, who has a longer track record, to replace Ryan Madson. Jim Thome fills the resident nice guy role left vacated by Brad Lidge's departure (and Juan Pierre won't hurt in that dept. either, assuming he makes the team). They have more versatility with Ty Wigginton adding to their bench strength.
13. Pirates. The new killer B's are here -- Rod Barajas, Erik Bedard, Clint Barmes and A.J. Burnett. The Bucs certainly should be better.
14. Mariners. Hong-Chih Kuo, Shawn Camp and Hisashi Iwakuma have a chance to help. But their offseason will turn on whether Montero becomes a bigger star than Pineda. The guess here is, he does.
15. Padres. They maximized the Latos trade. Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal could become stars, and Brad Boxberger may be the closer of the future. Huston Street ably replaces Bell. And Carlos Quentin may thrive back in his hometown.
16. Cubs. David DeJesus is a solid outfielder, and Paul Maholm will help. But their winter will turn on whether slugging first baseman Anthony Rizzo is the player they think he is. The real loss for them was the new rule limiting bonus pools for drafted players.
17. Royals. Jonathan Sanchez is just the type of high-ceiling pitcher who fits, Bruce Chen was needed back and Jonathan Broxton is worth a flyer.
18. Dodgers. They managed to cut to below $90 million as cash-strapped Frank McCourt sells the team, but they pieced it together pretty well. Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang are solid starters but most of the other imports are extras. They also made an exciting secret grab at Fielder but were outbid by the Tigers. Their best move, though, was signing Matt Kemp for eight years at $160 million,
19. Indians. Given the restrictions of the budget, not terrible. Casey Kotchman looks to be on the upswing, and Derek Lowe is a veteran presence needed especially now that Fausto Carmona is better known as Limbo Carmona.
20. Giants. Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan are late bloomers, and they might do as well as the combo of Caros Beltran, Andres Torres and Cody Ross. The comeback of Buster Posey is probably the biggest key. Also like the smaller pickups of Clay Hensley and Ryan Theriot.
21. Cardinals. It's hard to lose Pujols (not to mention Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan) and not feel it. But somehow, the Cardinals seem to find a way. Beltran replaces some of Pujols' lost offense, if not his presence. Adam Wainwright's return is the biggest addition, though.
22. Orioles. Nobody did more different things, but it's tough to evaluate or guess what Wei-Yin Chen or Tsuyoshi Wada will become. Wilson Betemit was an odd signing in that no one saw a two-year deal coming.
23. White Sox. Love the Robin Ventura move (though I suspect they should have made him take a more-experienced staff). The team will be a lot younger, too, with all the kids acquired for Santos and Quentin. Buehrle is tough to replace, though.
24. Braves. Their big deal was for utlityman Jack Wilson, which says a lot. Never found the right deal for Jair Jurrjens or Martin Prado.
25. Twins. Josh Willingham has a lot of pressure on him to make up for the loss of Cuddyer and Kubel. Joe Nathan preferred to go to a contender. Not sure how much Jason Marquis has left.
26. Red Sox. I like the way they recovered from the loss of Papelbon by adding Mark Melancon and Andrew Bailey. Cody Ross and Nick Punto are nice complementary pieces. But I think they'll miss Jason Varitek more than think. And they still don't have a No. 4 or 5 starter or starting shortstop after trading Marco Scutaro in exchange for "flexibility.'' Bobby Valentine was a great call for manager, and he does his best work when there are issues, so maybe he pulls it all together.
27. A's. They did a nice job collecting prospects (Jarrod Parker, Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole could be stars) but will be hard-pressed to avoid 90 defeats this year after trading Cahill, Gonzalez and Bailey. Big Talent Yoenis Cespedes and Mannyball spice things up. Interesting offseason.
28. Brewers. Tough to make up for the loss of Fielder. Aramis Ramirez is a nice middle-of-the-order bat, Alex Gonzalez is an upgrade at shortstop and Nori Aoki may work. Also lost some bullpen depth with Takashi Saito and Hawkins gone.
29. Astros. They took a flyer on the oft-injured Fernando Martinez but after failing to unload Wandy Rodriguez, Carlos Lee or Brett Myers, they basically return the same team. Which is not necessarily good news when you lost 106 games.
30. Mets. They lost the heart of the team (though an of-injured one), and Andres Torres wouldn't be my first choice to replace the dynamic Reyes. Actually, Pagan would have been better. But that's nitpicky. Let's face it, no one that cuts an unprecedented $50 million can do well.
Posted on: January 28, 2012 1:01 am
Edited on: January 28, 2012 1:31 am
Longtime pitching star Roy Oswalt, who seems to have very strong geographic leanings, turned down a very large one-year offer of about $10 million from the Detroit Tigers, sources told CBSSports.com, and Oswalt is instead eyeing several other teams, most of them much closer to his southern roots, including the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals.
Oswalt's main criteria seems to be proximity to his home in Mississippi. Other teams said to be in the running include the Red Sox and Nationals, but indications are that he prefers the Rangers and Cardinals. Above all else, the locale seems to be the key to him as his decision nears. Otherwise, how to explain the out-and-out rejection of the powerhouse Tigers?
The issue seems to be that the two teams he seems to most prefer -- the Rangers and Cardinals -- aren't perfect fits. Neither currently has an opening for a starting pitcher, though it's possible either team might try to make one for him. One report, from @Jim_Duquette, suggested the Cardinals are the frontrunner.
One thing is certain, and that is that he won't be a Tiger. Detroit's offer, which was made well before they came out of nowhere to sign Prince Fielder to a $214-million, nine-year deal, is no longer on the table.
Though Oswalt's agent Bob Garber denied it, one other person familiar with the Tigers' discussions with regarding said Oswalt declined to accept Detroit's offer of about $10-million after it met Garber's asking price. That person said Garber requested $10 million, but after Tigers owner Mike Ilitch signed off on the $10 million, Garber later informed Detroit that Oswalt was not prepared to take the offer. Garber denied by text that he had asked for $10 million, saying, "I never gave the Tigers a number.''
Garber added that Oswalt has "his top three (teams) he's still focused on.''
He didn't name the three teams. But it's hard to bet on the Red Sox, who like Detroit is in the north, and what's more, are believed to have offered nothing close to the $10 million Tigers bid (the belief is that Boston's offer is closer to $5 million).
Texas and St. Louis seem more likely at this point. The Rangers, who already have six viable starters, would insist he take their price, which would presumably be less than even Boston's price. Nolan Ryan and pitching coach Mike Maddux are both Oswalt fans (Ryan like Oswalt was an Astros star and knows him well) so they may do it if he'd take a fraction of the $10 million he turned down.
The Cardinals don't have an overwhelming need for another starter, either. But St. Louis has talked to both him and another free agent, Edwin Jackson.
The Astros, his former team, were mentioned as a possibility in one report. And they certainly would fit his geographic preferences. But that report was denied by someone close to Oswalt.
Oswalt has such strong ties to his home area that he left the Phillies last year for eight days after his hometown was wracked by a hurricane even though his own home didn't suffer significant damage. Oswalt, who also battled back trouble last year, at one point last year ruminated about retirement last year.
Had he done so, he would have missed one of the most interesting free-agent plays in recent memory.
Posted on: January 26, 2012 12:56 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 7:10 pm
Although they managed to stay under the radar all the while, the bankrupt big-market Los Angeles Dodgers pushed hard behind the scenes for weeks to try to sign Prince Fielder and thought for a while that they might have a legitimate shot at their own secret signing. The swashbuckling, secret-keeping Dodgers surely were a surprise entrant in the sweepstakes, making a major push to sign the star slugger with an initial offer that guaranteed him seven years and provided a sweet four-year opt-out. And for a couple weeks, the Dodgers looked like a real possibility for Prince.
The Dodgers surely gave a spirited effort to secure Fielder, even flying to meet with him at an undisclosed neutral location a few weeks ago, but somehow they managed to keep the entire undertaking under wraps, save for a few internet rumblings from fans speculating that they may have been a mystery team in the mix. It certainly is highly unusual for a team in backruptcy court to make a huge, nine-figure offer, but Dodgers people view Fielder as an extraordinary player who would have thrived in their large market.
But as it turned out, the Dodgers were merely the first mystery team. The second one, the Tigers, jumped in to win Fielder on a $214-million, nine-year deal several days after star hitter Victor Martinez suffered a knee injury that's expected to keep him out for the 2012 season. The one entity that was aware of the Dodgers' clandestine pursuit was the Tigers, who believed at some point that their strongest competition was coming from Los Angeles. The Nationals, Rangers and as many as four others also were showing strong interest in the 27-year-old slugger, though L.A. was definitely a prime player and one of the one or two main contenders to decisive Detroit in the end.
The Dodgers' first attempt at Fielder, with a high annual salary on the four years Fielder was guaranteed to be a Dodger and the always favorable player opt out, is believed to have put them among the final three teams in on Fielder, who agreed to the Tigers deal on Tuesday that was first reported by CBSSports.com and announced today. The Nationals have said they were in on Fielder until the end, and the Dodgers were calling in the final couple days, too, though they started to lose hope the final weekend when the Tigers' big bid materialized, people familiar with the negotiations told Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Boras said, "I was only dealing with teams offering eight years or more'' by the end. One other interested GM said Boras told them their seven-year offer didn't even qualify for submission.
The Dodgers' first offer was said to have called for an average salary of about $26 million for the first four years and something in the low $20-million-range in the next three years. That bid was designed not to discourage Fielder from opting out and possibly moving to the American League where he could DH afterbeing the Dodgers'; forst baseman for four years. That total Dodgers deal was believed to have been worth a guarantee in the low $160 millions. It isn't known whether it included options or vesting options.
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, who is about to auction the team that's in bankruptcy, is not disallowed by the bankruptcy court from making such major baseball calls even though the team is slated to change hands April 30. The Los Angeles Times reported there are 20 wealthy bidders for the storied franchise that is expected to sell for at least $1.5 billion, and perhaps more. McCourt was fully on board with the offer extended to Fielder.
At least one prospective Dodgers bidder said he had heard about the team's involvement with Fielder but declined to comment on how such a mega contract might affect the purchase price. The expected record price for the Dodgers is being driven in large part by an ultra-competitive TV market, and having a third superstar to go with Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw may have been seen as a positive. The homegrown superstar Kemp was signed to a $160-million, eight-year Dodgers deal earlier this offseason in a move that was applauded by everyone.
The Dodgers have reduced their payroll to $90 million for the coming season, very small for the big-market team -- though for Fielder, who they saw as a special case, they were willing to push the payroll to close to $120 million.
The Dodgers tendered their longtime first baseman James Loney a contract and expect him to be their first baseman. They are not unhappy with him at all but merely saw Fielder as a rare opportunity to land one of the game's best hitters. There has been speculation the new owner, whoever that may be, will be in position to take a shot out at Reds superstar first baseman Joey Votto when he becomes a free agent in two years. However, Dodgers baseball people saw Fielder as an immediate chance at someone they believe is well-suited for a big market environment.
Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:44 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 4:57 pm
Well, the mystery team won again. I guess we shouldn't be surprised. That makes it three mysteries solved, with Cliff Lee's $120-million Philly deal and Albert Pujols' $240-million Angels deal coming before Prince Fielder's shocker of a $214-million, nine-year Tigers deal.
We also shouldn't be surprised it was the Tigers. No owner wants to win more than Detroit's Mike Ilitch. I saw how crestfallen the Casear's pizza king was following the Tigers' defeat to the Rangers in the ALCS last year. Injuries to Magglio Ordonez and Delmon Young stripped them of their lineup power, rendering them a patsy for the stacked Texas Rangers when they looked like an equal opponent to start the series.
Yet another injury, this one to Victor Martinez, spurred this move. The fine-hitting Martinez is expected to miss the 2012 season after tearing up a knee while working out, and Ilitch didn't want to waste the 2012 season. Ilitch wants to win as badly as anyone in the game. He's the new Steinbrenner, a quieter, calmer Steinbrenner.
Word was out that the Tigers were looking at picking up Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez, Vladimir Guerrero or Hideki Matsui, Four accomplished players winding down their careers. Instead, they got a superstar, a coreerstone player that gives them the appearance of a shoo-in for another AL Central title and another crack at the World Series title that has eluded Ilitch, despite his incredible efforts and extraordinary tolerance for spending.
The $214-million contract, which was first reported by CBSSports.com, shouldn't shock folks. After all, Fielder is a 27-year-old slugger, a cleaup hitter and leader to build around. There is no opt-out but the salaries are said to be spread evely over the deal, making it worth exactly what it purports to be worth.
They're celebrating in Detroit. Miguel Cabrera, who will vacate first base for Fielder, is said to be thrilled to welcome Fielder, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. What surprises everyone is that Fielder didn't go to the Nationals, Orioles, Rangers or any one of the other five or six teams that was mentioned prominently for weeks, if not months.
As it turns out, the Nationals were the only one of those teams in the mix at the very end. They saw Fielder as their answer to the need for lefthanded power until Bryce Harper arrives. There is believed to have been a third team in the mix. Yes, yet another mystery team.
At this point, the only mystery is that even now no one believes the call of the mystery team.
Posted on: January 1, 2012 10:06 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 9:00 pm
There is "no real favorite'' in the five-team Matt Garza sweepstakes, according to someone familiar with the talks.
The teams involved the derby for the 28-year-old Cubs righthander at this point are the Yankees, Blue Jays, Tigers, Red Sox and Marlins. With the Cubs seeking young pitchers, it would seem that the Yankees, Blue Jays and Tigers could hold an edge ultimately. The Yankees have Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, the Tigers Jacob Turner and the Blue Jays several well-regarded prospects at the lower levels. The Cubs are hoping to improve their young pitching stock, and Garza is the most marketable player they're willing to deal.
The Red Sox earlier named Garza, who went 10-10 with a 3.31 ERA in 2011, his only one with the Cubs, as a target in Theo Epstein compensation talks, but it's unclear wether the Cubs would even consider trying to solve the compensation issue while making a bigger Garza deal with Boston. They wouldn't surrender Garza straight-up for Epstein, and it's possible the Cubs would want to keep Garza and the compensation issues totally separate. The Red Sox don't have pitching prospects to match the Yankees or Blue Jays but do have hard-throwing righthander Anthony Ranaudo, who was drafted by Epstein, the new Cubs president.
The Cubs are obviously rebuilding but have been nonetheless tied to the Prince Fielder derby. A Cubs person suggested that while Fielder is the type of player they need, they aren't willing to pursue Fielder at all costs, a not unfamiliar refain for teams pursuing big-name free agents.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 5:29 pm
Jair Jurrjens has drawn some interest from the Orioles, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rockies, Tigers, Rangers and others. However, while Jurrjens is a terrific young starter, he appears to be behind Oakland's Gio Gonzalez on the pecking order of most teams, possibly because of potential concerns about the knee injury that hampered him at the end of last year.
Baltimore has seemed especially interested in Jurrjens. However, one person connected to the teams said they wouldn't consider trading young center fielder Adam Jones straight-up for Jurrjens. "Not even close,'' the person said. There was some suggestion the Braves might need to include the versatile and available Martin Prado to make that deal work. But that duo may be too much for the Braves to part with.
The Braves also have suggested that they will not trade Jurrjens within their division, thereby eliminating the active Marlins as a potential suitor.
Jurrjens had an excellent year in 2011 but was hampered at the end by a knee concern. The Braves say his health shouldn't be an issue, as his velocity was back up to the mid 90s in instructional league and would have pitched in the playoffs had the Braves advanced.
The Braves say they are only considering trading Jurrjens because they have a wealth of starting pitchers, and a need for improving their offense. Jurrjens' arbitration number is expected to be very high, as well, and Atlanta has been limited financially this winter.
One other issue with the Braves is that their history of trading starting pitchers is so good that some others teams are leery about trading with them. It seems they know just went to deal pitchers, right at the height of their value.