In an informative post-mortem on the Braves, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Atlanta General Manager Frank Wren "is expected to explore the possibility of trading [Derek] Lowe, who is owed $45MM over the final three years of his contract."
The idea makes a ton of sense for Atlanta. With multiple needs, and a surplus of starters, the Braves should certainly jettison one in an effort to add a first baseman, outfielder and/or help in the bullpen.
The question is less about why Atlanta would deal Lowe, and more why anyone would want to deal for him at his price.
Lowe is coming off of a season with a 4.67 ERA along with a strikeout rate of just 5.1 per nine innings. He certainly didn't finish strong, with a 5.05 second-half ERA, and a 6,23 mark from September 1 on. And that $15MM per season will pay for Lowe's age-37, age-38 and age-39 campaigns.
Even if Lowe had pitched extremely well in 2009, it is hard to imagine that many teams could afford him. And of those teams, both the Yankees and Red Sox would hardly want to ask a pitcher with a declining strikeout rate to switch leagues.
It will be fascinating to see if the Braves can find a trading partner for Lowe. They can always make the argument, "He's just a year removed from a 3.24 ERA!" But those arguments never seem to result in renaissance seasons. A lot can change with a year removed. After all, Jon and Kate are just a year removed from being "happily married television stars."