Discussion: Derek Lowe’s Value

Braves righty Derek Lowe makes for an interesting discussion topic.  Lowe is owed $45MM over the next three years, and is widely known to be on the trading block.  The Braves seem unwilling to eat significant salary.  There are arguments on both sides of the fence as to Lowe's value.

On one side we've got Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports saying the Braves are finding Lowe difficult to trade.  The financial commitment is significant, and I must note that Lowe's strikeout, walk, and groundball rates moved in the wrong direction this year.  I think the free agent market offers plenty of mid-rotation options at one year and less than $10MM.

How about the other side?  In that same Rosenthal piece, he writes that the Braves feel that if Lowe were a free agent, only John Lackey would be in higher demand among starters.  And maybe Lowe at 3/45 is better than Lackey at 5/80 (or whatever). 

Other pro-Lowe points from MLB.com's Mark Bowman: he took pressure off the other Braves' starters, he's durable, and he had a 3.88 ERA this year if you subtract his worst three starts.  (In fairness, we can play that game with anyone – Jon Garland's ERA drops from 4.01 to 3.24 if we remove his worst three).  Frankie Piliere of AOL FanHouse sides with Bowman, saying, "Don't expect teams to be any less impressed with Lowe than they were when he was free agent last offseason."  And while I pointed out that Lowe's numbers declined this year, it should also be noted that his .333 BABIP and subsequent 232 hits allowed might be a reflection of the Braves' shaky infield defense aside from Yunel Escobar.  Plus, one year isn't a big sample.

The bottom line for me is that Lowe certainly has value as a pitcher, but he's also overpaid in this market.  What's your take?



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