Indians Acquire Derek Lowe

We have our first trade of the 2011-12 offseason!  The Indians acquired Derek Lowe from the Braves, tweets John Kreger.  The Braves will pay all but $5MM of Lowe's $15MM salary, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.  Olney says the Braves will receive 23-year-old High-A lefty reliever Chris Jones in return for Lowe.  Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein provides a quick scouting report.

Lowe

Lowe, 38, posted a 5.05 ERA, 6.6 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 0.67 HR/9, and 59% groundball rate in 187 innings this year for Atlanta.  Lowe's Braves career ended on a sour note, as his 8.75 September ERA contributed to their collapse.  Still, his groundball rate ranked second in all of baseball.  Lowe signed a four-year, $60MM deal with the Braves in January of 2009.  

With Lowe, Justin Masterson, and Fausto Carmona, the Indians' rotation now has three of MLB's top seven in 2011 groundball rate.  Ubaldo Jimenez and Josh Tomlin are also penciled in, with Carlos Carrasco down for Tommy John surgery.

For the Braves, the benefit is $5MM in much-needed salary relief for a pitcher otherwise projected for middle relief on their 2012 club.  The Braves and Indians last matched up on a trade in July of 2006, when the Tribe sent reliever Bob Wickman to Atlanta for Max Ramirez.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


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181 Comments on "Indians Acquire Derek Lowe"


3 years 10 months ago

Let the Offseason Begin!

Jakmagic
3 years 10 months ago

The Indians rotation looks better than alot of teams. I dont know if I would be jumping for joy over D. Lowe! I guess if they didnt really give up anything and are getting him at a discounted price, then whatever. Lowe was a clog in the Braves rotation with Delgado Teheran, and Minor waiting to make an impact at the MLB level. Indians really need to look for some quality names to provide some offense.

TartanElk
3 years 10 months ago

I hope he doesn’t run into any trouble driving to Cleveland…

In all seriousness, however, this is quite surprising.

chico65
3 years 10 months ago

No kidding.  I knew Lowe’s stock had dropped, but a single A ball reliever in return- with the Braves also kicking in 10 mil?  Astonishing. 

jwsox
3 years 10 months ago

Agreed. It’s hard to believe there was not a better deal out there.

rundmc1981
3 years 10 months ago

Astonishing? ATL GM Wren publicly said Lowe would NOT make the 2012 Opening Day rotation. This is a $15M pitcher. We have guys making the league min that pitch twice as good as him (Delgado, Teheran, Minor, etc.). Considering we couldn’t unload Kawakami’s $8M (from 2010) after he was given the franchise Scarlet Letter and demoted to Double-A, I’m surprised we were able to get a decent prospect and not have to fork over the remaining $5M. I’m happy. Take him.

Lastings
3 years 10 months ago

The Indians seem to have an affection with DUI guys. Choo, Kearns, now Lowe. Now they need Nick Nolte in the front office.

Jakmagic
3 years 10 months ago

D. Lowe what, why, how?

tomymogo
3 years 10 months ago

this year

Jeff
3 years 10 months ago

He was found not guilty.

3 years 10 months ago

Yeah and if you look at the video the GA Troopers were all messed up.

eyedessert
3 years 10 months ago

They can also bring in Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn.

bigpat
3 years 10 months ago

Huh??? Talk about coming out of left field, this is crazy!!! First trade of the offseason, I love it, didn’t even know teams were allowed to trade yet. 

3 years 10 months ago

 They were never NOT allowed to make trades.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 10 months ago

Teams are allowed to trade whenever. Remember last year the Jays traded for Miguel Olivo right before they needed to decide on his option. They elected pay the buyout and get a draft pick.

3 years 10 months ago

I think this is false.  I believe they can’t begin trading until the day after the world series.  I mean, they can trade up until that point, but it would have to be a waiver-trade, right?

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 10 months ago

Why? Waiver trades simply allow players to be eligible for the postseason roster. A straight up trade can be done any time but if it’s done while your team is in the hunt between August 1st and the end of the season then that player isn’t postseason eligible.

3 years 10 months ago

So why didn’t the Red Sox trade (for example) $2 million to the O’s for the rights to Jeremy Guthrie for September?  At the end of September they would trade him back to the O’s and they would make the playoffs by having another SP to throw out there.

What’s stopping teams from doing that?

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 10 months ago

The fact that the Orioles would have never made that trade since they’d have no way to get Guthrie back.

3 years 10 months ago

You can make a trade with a clause that the player gets traded back on a specified date.  It’s a legal transaction like any other and clauses can be added.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 10 months ago

The comissioner’s office would never approve.

3 years 10 months ago

I suppose that’s true.  My point is it would make more sense if no trades were allowed between the waiver deadline and the end of the world series, right?

3 years 10 months ago

 Why put in a rule that they can’t happen when they so rarely happen anyway?

3 years 10 months ago

LOL! When was the last time you saw something like that happen? What if Guthrie had gotten hurt?

3 years 10 months ago

I mean that’s pretty much my argument.  There are limitations on when and how trades are done.  I think no trades can occur after the waiver deadline because there’s no way of stopping teams from doing ridiculous things like what I proposed.  No?

3 years 10 months ago

Yeah, THAT’S the reason.  Wait, no it’s not. Trades CAN occur after the waiver deadline, and actually have in the past, though they are few and far between.

ubercubsfan
3 years 10 months ago

Teams can trade whenever.  The waiver-trade deadline is the last time a player can be traded and still be eligible for the playoffs.  If a player is traded after they can still play for the team, just not for a playoff roster spot. 

Cory Taylor
3 years 10 months ago

Moves can be made at any time. The commish just doesnt want moves announced during the WS so the WS can be the entire focus

carlos
3 years 10 months ago

innings eater at best now. speaking of eating , how much did atlanta eat of his contract?

Triple Hawpes Brewed
3 years 10 months ago

$10 of $15 mil

John Bowman
3 years 10 months ago

And an unknown A-ball bullpen lefty to the Braves.

Triple Hawpes Brewed
3 years 10 months ago

Chris Jones

2donaldo1
3 years 10 months ago

Still all I can say is “Yahoo”.

Braves_Fan
3 years 10 months ago

Receiving $1 of salary relief would be a win here for Wren. 

3 years 10 months ago

Not to mention opening a roster spot. In fact, as bad as Lowe was, it might have been in Wren’s interest to PAY someone $1 to take him.

3 years 10 months ago

Its really a win for everyone – the Indians get an ok pitcher in a pretty rough rotation, Braves free up some salary and avoid another KK problem with Lowe possibly missing the MLB roster, and Lowe gets to perform under the expectations of a 5mil pitcher instead of a 15mil guy (while still getting paid 15 mil).  Every body happy.

3 years 10 months ago

So it begins…

tomymogo
3 years 10 months ago

Awesome…….For the Braves, now it’s you’re problem Indians

chico65
3 years 10 months ago

I don’t know…I think as long as Indians fans keep their expectations Lowe they won’t be disappointed.

Vossome93
3 years 10 months ago

Congrats Braves fans.

3 years 10 months ago

Um…random.

3 years 10 months ago

They’re totally gonna win a World Series now!

davidsonrva
3 years 10 months ago

Wren FTW

tomymogo
3 years 10 months ago

If they took 5 million of Lowe’s 15 million salary it is a miracle

tomymogo
3 years 10 months ago

IT’S A MIRACLE

Guest
3 years 10 months ago

Cleveland Rocks

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 10 months ago

Nice way to start the off season. Good move by Atlanta, freeing up a spot for one of their young guys and saving some money.

Triple Hawpes Brewed
3 years 10 months ago

THERE IS A GOD!

3 years 10 months ago

Unexpected. Thought I figured Lowe might be traded this winter, just not so soon and not to Cleveland. 

I still don’t see why they brought back Carmona though, especially now. I thought they had enough options to fill out the rotation without him, even with Carrasco down for the year.

LMTShawn
3 years 10 months ago

They brought back Carmona because his $7M price tag is more than reasonable in this day and age. Also, if they declined his option, he still would have been under team control through arbitration, which he may have made more than the $7M.

Also, you can never have enough pitching, and you are going to have to rely on Jeanmar Gomez (whom I like), David Huff (who is terrible) and Zach McAllister (have no idea what you can count on with him). This gives them a guy you know what you’ll get; 180 innings and an ERA between 4.5 & 5 at the back end of the rotation.

The_Porcupine
3 years 10 months ago

There aren’t going to be any other decent arms available on the free agent market that are going to be much cheaper than Carmona.

0vercast
3 years 10 months ago

He’ll offer some veteran insight to the young Indians rotation.  I think it was a good pickup.

3 years 10 months ago

Give it time.

Jeff
3 years 10 months ago

I don’t think he’s the type of veteran you’d want as an influence.  You’re going to end up a ton of popped collars…

Seriously though, good pickup for the Indians- since DLowe pitches better in cold weather, and Braves get $5mil to help pickup a better SS or a decent LF, which are their two biggest holes, assuming Heyward doesn’t regress next year.

101andCounting
3 years 10 months ago

Good move for the Indians too, I think. Lowe is hardly a stud pitcher, but he’s a dependable innings eater who gets a lot of groundballs. If they resign Carmona, their rotation is going to look pretty sturdy.

Jimenez
Masterson
Lowe
Carmona
Tomlin

notsureifsrs
3 years 10 months ago

they exercised carmona’s option yesterday. he and tomlin are weak, but the first three are solid

3 years 10 months ago

Did you miss the second half of Lowe’s season?  The only time his sinker sank was while it was going over the outfield fence.

notsureifsrs
3 years 10 months ago

braves fans are scarred, i get it. but lowe isn’t as bad as you feel. FIP by month

2.88
4.56
3.31
3.28
3.97
4.38

his true talent level is the last two rough months? mmk

Brv Rocks
3 years 10 months ago

Most Braves fans hate Lowe though he has been a pretty good pitcher the last 3 seasons.  They don’t want to hear anything about BABIP or FIP. 

rundmc1981
3 years 10 months ago

True, Lowe didn’t get run support some of the time, but the man wasn’t a consummate professional and was by far our worst pitcher. For someone that typically gets it done at the end of the season, he didn’t in 2011. Better dealing him now and getting something for him than letting him pitch (terribly) in 2012 and letting him bolt for free agency (good luck) in 2013. We have enough young pitchers to not worry about an innings eater. We don’t have the same needs as we did in 2007. Thank God.

RiverKKiller999
3 years 10 months ago

I don’t get it…Braves fans are jumping up for joy with the trade. I don’t care what the FIP numbers say, he was still terrible. I don’t have to look at the numbers in order to define how good or bad he was. I watched him all season bro. 38 years old and isn’t going to get any better. He is just trash.

diehardmets
3 years 10 months ago

So you’re just arbitrarily going to decide he was bad? That totally makes sense.

It’s not like he’s an ace, and he’s certainly not worth his contract, but he’s a decent back of the rotation starter.

YanksFanSince78
3 years 10 months ago

For $5 mil and a nothing prospect I would’ve taken a chance on him if I were most other teams incl the Yanks.

DK8
3 years 10 months ago

That’s the head scratching part–for a 1 year 5 million dollar commitment, there should have been 10 teams interested, maybe more.  Lowe isn’t all that good, but is he is durable, and FIP/xFIP suggests he was unlucky last year.  Although, the Indians IF defense may not help change that luck.

FrankTheFunkasaurusRex
3 years 10 months ago

I know, bro. Do you people even watch the games?

Daniel Madden
3 years 10 months ago

tomlins had problems in the past but overall he’s a solid pitcher

tomymogo
3 years 10 months ago

Just wait till you see him pitch. He pitched 187 innings in 34 starts that’s on average of 5.2 IP per start, and now he is 40.

He never get’s injured, I’ll give you that, but had an ERA in the 5’s and pitched in a pitcher friendly ballpark and league

$1529282
3 years 10 months ago

I don’t know of many extreme groundballers would thrive with an infield that included Dan Uggla and Chipper Jones behind him. Lowe had a 3.70 FIP last year. His defense killed him.

tomymogo
3 years 10 months ago

And Alex Gonzalez and Freddy Freeman? Chipper wasn’t bad, and Uggla was surprisingly better than his rep would indicate. 

Tim Hudson another groundball pitcher was 16-10 with a 3.22 ERA. Trust me, I saw the difference, Lowe is just old, can’t last 6 innings, a lot of walks, you could have 4 gold glovers out there and his ERA would still be over 4

2donaldo1
3 years 10 months ago

Plus I think he led the league in sweat. Dude was always drenched and he’s not exactly a max-effort pitcher.

Jeff
3 years 10 months ago

He had a skin cancer scare early in his career, so he never wears short sleeves.  That’s why.

notsureifsrs
3 years 10 months ago

chipper had a bad year defensively (-5 DRS, -5 +/-, -12 range) and so did uggla (-9 DRS, -3 +/-, -10 range)

gonzalez was solid (15 DRS, 13 +/-, -6 range), but freeman was average at best (0 DRS, 0 +/-) and well below average at worst (-13 range)

you are just flat wrong about lowe’s season

tomymogo
3 years 10 months ago

If those stats say Freeman is a bad defensive player, I simply don’t believe those stats

notsureifsrs
3 years 10 months ago

you and every other braves fan in love with the kid’s glove. but even if you watch every out of a season, range is very difficult to determine from casual observation

he may have a bright future, but there isn’t a defensive metric (including b-r’s TZL) that rates his range above average in 2011

TheHotCorner
3 years 10 months ago

I don’t think those stats say he is a “bad” defensive player but that he is “average”.  I think too many of my fellow Braves fans have fallen in love with the hype of what the “experts” say he will become.  I think he will become a solid player but give the kid time to grow.  How many kids his age are even in the majors.

inkstainedscribe
3 years 10 months ago

I have no idea how to judge range factors, but it seemed to me that Freeman has great hands, excellent footwork around the bag, and very little range. He’ll prevent a lot of bad throws from becoming errors, but he’ll let a fair number of grounders that other 1B would reach become singles, too.

DK8
3 years 10 months ago

The defensive stats are heavily dependent on range, which is not Freeman’s strength.  The reason the stats are heavily dependent on range is because it is really hard to quantify the effect of scoops/soft hands/etc.

notsureifsrs
3 years 10 months ago

no, that is not why they emphasize range. they emphasize range because range is paramount (even at 1B). the softest hands in the world don’t matter at all if you can’t get to the ball

3 years 10 months ago

Except 1B where, for the most part, people are throwing the ball to you.

notsureifsrs
3 years 10 months ago

they throw the ball to you in addition to you having to field balls. it doesn’t make range any less important; it just adds a dimension

DK8
3 years 10 months ago

Using range to evaluate a 1B is not necessarily a good way to evaluate them, because it is the position that is least dependent on range. Besides, defensive stats over 1 season can be dramatically impacted by a few plays.

Chipper and Uggla did not play good D, but you can’t just assume that their negative plays are uniformly distributed and that D. Lowe was on the mound for a proportional or greater number of those plays.  Therefore, you can’t just say that Lowe’s crappy season was due to bad D behind him without combining a scouting perspective.

By the same token, it’s asinine to suggest that Lowe wouldn’t have been better with 4 great defenders behind him in the IF.

It irritates me when people make definitive statements using stats where the truth is likely in shades of grey.

notsureifsrs
3 years 10 months ago

in sum, each of the metrics accounts for plays made. soft hands and ‘scoop-ability’ are accounted for by these measures and need no special recognition

a ball scooped for an out is not any more valuable than a ball caught in the chest. you are confusing a discussion about the value of a performance with a discussion about the the talent of a player. we’re only talking about the former here

“you can’t just assume that their negative plays are uniformly distributed”

no one did

“you can’t just say that Lowe’s crappy season was due to bad D behind him”

exclusively? no one did

“By the same token, it’s asinine to suggest that Lowe wouldn’t have been better with 4 great defenders behind him in the IF.”

to suggest it? no, you’d be insane not to suggest it

it would be an overstatement to conclude it, definitely, based on the defensive metrics alone. but it is obviously probable that better infield defense leads to better results for a groundball pitcher over the course of a season. to challenge this idea would be eye-crossingly stupid

jphenix2002
3 years 10 months ago

That rotation doesn’t scare anyone. If Jimenez AND Lowe bounce back they might be able to get by, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

alxn
3 years 10 months ago

I would’ve been down for paying the Indians $5M to take Lowe. Addition by subtraction for sure.

That being said, solid pick-up for the Indians if he can eat some innings as a #4/5.

Mike
3 years 10 months ago

Olney says Braves ate $10 mill. Sounds like a good deal to me.

Mike
3 years 10 months ago

Olney says Braves ate $10 mill. Sounds like a good deal to me.

chico65
3 years 10 months ago

You can say that again