2009 NEWS

2009 NEWS > 2/7/09


By David O'Brien
Original Article HERE.

Tom Glavine finally got a contract offer from the Braves last week, but itís uncertain if the proposal, with a base salary of less than $2 million, will be enough to satisfy baseballís only active 300-game winner.

Contrary to earlier reports that the contract contained no additional incentives, Glavine could actually make up to $3 million if he stays healthy during the 2009 season.

The 42-year-old left-hander could consider going to another team or retiring. The latter option seems less likely by the week, as Glavineís recovery from shoulder and elbow surgeries has progressed unabated.

Glavine believes he would be a better fifth starter for the Braves than any of their (far) younger and (far) less-established candidates for the position.

ďAssuming Iím healthy ó which right now thereís not a reason I wonít be ó thereís a lot of upside having me in that slot,Ē he said.

Braves general manager Frank Wren confirmed an offer was made to Glavine, but declined to discuss specifics or elaborate on the status of negotiations. Glavine hopes the Braves will increase their offer.

The Braves already saw one of their iconic pitchers, John Smoltz, leave last month for a substantially higher guaranteed salary from the Boston Red Sox.

Glavine threw 75 pitches Tuesday without discomfort and expects to be ready to pitch in spring-training games by the end of the first week of March. He said he ďabsolutelyĒ should be ready when the 2009 season begins, barring any setbacks.

Braves pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training Saturday.

Under the salary offered, Glavine would probably make a little over $1 million more than other candidates for the fifth-starter job, including Jorge Campillo, Charlie Morton, Jo-Jo Reyes and top prospect Tommy Hanson.

The Braves are believed to have only about $7 million or so left to spend for roster additions and are considering trading for an outfielder such as the Yankeesí Nick Swisher.

The team would prefer that Hanson, who hasnít pitched above the Class AA level, spend at least part of the season at Class AAA Gwinnett.

The Braves improved their starting rotation by trading for Javier Vazquez and signing free agents Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami. Jair Jurrjens also is back after a 13-win rookie season, leaving one rotation spot open.

ďI understand that [competition] is there,Ē Glavine said. ďBut at the same time, I think if Iím healthy and doing what Iím capable of doing, Iím a better option than those other guys.

ďI think I make a rotation stronger. I understand those guys are waiting in the wings, and somewhere down the line theyíre going to be productive in the rotation. But I think if all things are equal, Iím the better option.Ē

Glavine, whoíll be 43 in March, said his agent received a couple of calls from other teams, but the pitcher isnít ready to entertain other offers. He prefers to stay in Atlanta.

The major-league minimum salary is $400,000. Glavine was paid $8 million in 2008 in his return to Atlanta after five seasons with the New York Mets.

He went 2-4 with a 5.54 ERA in 13 starts before season-ending August surgery for a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Dr. James Andrews cleaned out wear-and-tear damage to his shoulder at the same time.

Glavine was never on the disabled list during 21 previous major-league seasons, including 16 with the Braves.

The retirement of former teammate Greg Maddux made Glavine the active wins leader with 305. He needs two to pass Eddie Plank for 20th on the career list.

ďIím not going back to pitch simply because I want to make more money, Iím going back to because I think I have some unfinished business,Ē Glavine said.

He chose his next words carefully, mindful that the nationís terrible economy isnít conducive to sympathetic opinions vis-ŗ-vis baseball salaries.

ďThereís a point where itís worth going back and going through everything you go through, good and bad, in getting ready and going through a baseball season,Ē he said, ďand a point where itís not.

ďIím obviously in a very good place financially. I donít need the money. But Ö thereís a price for everything. I donít know how to say that without someone getting offended. In every business, thereís a price that makes it worthwhile.Ē