Glavine agrees to 1 yr $8M deal to end career with Braves

November 19, 2007 at 12:38 pm 22 comments

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ATLANTA — Tom Glavine won his 300th game with the New York Mets. He plans to get his final win for the Atlanta Braves.

Glavine agreed to an $8 million, one-year contract with the Braves on Sunday, returning full time to the city he always called home even while pitching the last five years in New York.

Negotiations between the 303-game winner and the Braves lasted less than a week after Glavine made it clear he wanted to finish his career in Atlanta and the team worked out room in its budget to sign him.

Glavine pitched for the Braves from 1987-2002, winning 242 games and two NL Cy Young Awards. An afternoon news conference to formally announce the signing was scheduled for Monday at Turner Field.

“We are absolutely thrilled to bring Tom Glavine back to the Braves,” new general manager Frank Wren said. “We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from the players on our club, our staff and our fans concerning Tom’s return. Tom is a proven winner and a future Hall of Famer.”

The initial talks were held Wednesday, the Braves made their first offer Friday and the details were hammered out over the weekend, said Glavine’s agent, Gregg Clifton.

“While Tom is disappointed to be leaving New York and all of his friends and teammates there, he has an opportunity to go back to Atlanta to continue his career with the Braves,” Clifton said. “Ultimately, as everyone knows, Tom’s decision was tremendously influenced by the importance of his family being paramount in his life.”

Glavine, who is married with four children, has come full circle after an acrimonious split from the Braves in 2002.

The crafty left-hander kept his primary home in suburban Atlanta while pitching five years for the Mets. He set himself up for a return to the Braves by turning down a $13 million option to remain with New York in 2008, taking a $3 million buyout.

He then gave the Braves a bit of a hometown discount, something he wasn’t willing to do five years ago. Glavine’s options were further limited when Curt Schilling took an $8 million deal to remain with the Boston Red Sox, though he could earn another $5 million through performance and weight bonuses.

Glavine’s contract is a straightforward arrangement with no incentives.

Wren, who took over from longtime GM John Schuerholz last month, was eager to add depth to a rotation that relied heavily on John Smoltz and Tim Hudson and never settled on reliable options in the fourth and fifth slots.

In addition to landing Glavine, Wren hopes for a return to health by Mike Hampton, who missed the last two seasons with injuries. He has started another rehab stint in the Arizona Fall League.

Glavine, who will turn 42 before the start of next season, went 13-8 with a 4.45 ERA in 200 1-3 innings for the Mets this year.

The loss of Glavine to an NL East rival leaves New York looking for another starter to add to its rotation. Free agent Livan Hernandez is a possibility, and the Mets also hope to make a trade pitch for Minnesota ace Johan Santana if the Twins decide they can’t re-sign him.

Glavine came up to the Braves in 1987, the first wave in an impressive class of young pitchers that also included Smoltz and Steve Avery. Those three helped the Braves to a remarkable worst-to-first turnaround in 1991, when Atlanta made it all the way to Game 7 of a memorable World Series before losing to Minnesota.

Glavine won the first of his two Cy Young awards with the Braves in ’91, which also was the first of five 20-win seasons he had with the team. He won a career-best 22 games in 1993, and added another Cy Young award in 1998 when he went 20-6.

The Braves won 11 of their record 14 straight division titles with Glavine on the mound, and he was the MVP of their only World Series championship during that run, a six-game triumph over the Cleveland Indians in 1995.

Glavine won two games in that series, including a 1-0 triumph in Game 6. He allowed only one hit in eight innings before Mark Wohlers got the final three outs.

Getting by with pinpoint control and a devastating changeup, Glavine seemed destined to spend his entire career in Atlanta. But he refused to take an offer with millions in deferred payments and not as much guaranteed money after going 18-11 with a 2.96 ERA in 2002.

Signing a four-year, $42.5 million contract with the Mets, Glavine failed to match the numbers he put up in Atlanta. He went 9-14 in 2003, his first losing season since 1990, and never won more than 15 games with the Mets.

He did get another chance to pitch in the postseason in 2006, going six scoreless innings to win a division series game against Los Angeles and seven scoreless innings for another win in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series against St. Louis.

Glavine took the loss in Game 5, and the Mets fell to the Cardinals in seven games. Shortly afterward, he re-signed with the Mets, never getting a hoped-for offer from the Braves, who didn’t have enough money under their reduced payroll to make a serious bid.

Atlanta is in more of a spending mood this winter after deciding not to re-sign Gold Glove center fielder Andruw Jones and dealing shortstop Edgar Renteria to Detroit for prospects.

Glavine joined the 300-win club on Aug. 5 with a win over the Cubs, but his final start in New York was abysmal: The lefty was booed off the mound in the regular-season finale, allowing seven runs and getting only one out in the second-shortest start of his career.

The 8-1 loss to Florida completed the Mets’ historic September collapse, giving the NL East title to Philadelphia.

Glavine decided he didn’t want to go out like that, and any thoughts of retirement were abandoned when the Braves called.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Erik  |  November 19, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    he wanted to go out a Brave. Can’t blame him and he still can pitch. He wanted to be close to his family. He’s a classy guy. Now the mets will have to find another starter.

  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 19, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    I agree 100%. Glavine is going out the right way. I just hope he doesn;t pull a Steve Carlton and post an ERA in the 7s or whatever Carlton’s was his last year. But I still think Glavine has enough to post a 12-15 win season with an ERA below the league average.

  • 3. Erik  |  November 19, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Glavine isn’t a 20 game winner anymore… but if he can win 10-15 games as a #3-5 starter he doesn’t need to. So long as his Era is average. The Braves will be happy. I think he can do that. The pressure is off for now… But the Phils remain the top team in the division.

  • 4. Brittney  |  November 19, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!! lol I’m glad to see Tommy coming back to Atlanta…my mom,not so much haha But she’ll get over it!

    And in response to the Phillies statement made by Erik….um,about that! lol

  • 5. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 19, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    I agree about all you just said. The Phillies are the team to beat. Glavine might be the #2 starter though so the rotation won’t go Smoltz, Hudson, then 3 soft lefites in Glavine, Hampton, and James.

  • 6. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 19, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    Brittney! I figured you’d be here. If the Braves are mentioned you show up! I am also sooooooooo glad to see him retire a Brave. Glavine is actually my favorite player of all-time and I never wanted him to leave the ATL in the first place.

  • […] unknown had some great ideas on this topic.You can read a snippet of the post here.ATLANTA — Tom Glavine won his 300th game with the New York Mets. He plans to get his final win for the Atlanta Braves. Glavine agreed to an $8 million, one-year contract with the Braves on Sunday, returning full time to the city he … […]

  • 8. Erik  |  November 19, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    Until the Phillies are unseated as the reigning NL East champion they’re the team to beat in the East… Especially with Myers back in the rotation and Lidge in their bullpen.

    Atlanta has holes in Centerfield and they are putting a lot of faith in Escobar as their starting Shortstop.

  • 9. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 19, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    You nailed it Erik. The Phillies have inproved while the Braves may or may not step back or forward. Too many question marks with the Braves right now.

  • 10. Erik  |  November 19, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    I think the division shapes up at this point to be…

    Mets tie
    Braves tie

    Now mind you this will be subject to change once the division and its teams are more filled out… but if I had to guess this is how it will be…

  • 11. Charlie Nehl  |  November 20, 2007 at 9:24 am

    Yeah. I like this move by the Braves. It will allow him to end his career as a Brave, and go into the Hall as Brave (this move wouldn’t have impacted that regardless). He’s still a decent pitcher. As mentioned he’ll put 12-15 wins, and should around or below a 4 ERA, which gives you a standing chance to win ball games. I think Johnathan is right, that the Braves will have to pitch him 2nd in the rotation so James and Glavine to pitch back to back. I wouldn’t even include Hampton on the list lol, but this gives them a solid fourish starting pitchers instead of 3ish (the ish is Chuck James). Then between newly aquired Jurrjens and Lance Cormier, they should have a solid rotation.

    Now if they could just pull Rowand away from the Phillies, they’d put together a pretty darn decent team. The way it shapes up now, I agree with Erik on the division (at this point, but there is a lot of off-season to go).

  • 12. Brittney  |  November 20, 2007 at 11:01 am

    Of course I’ll be here,Jonathan lol We’re talkin about my Braves =] But I think we’ll have a better rotation,now that we don’t have to rely heavily on Smoltzie and Huddy. I do think those two should be split up in the rotation though. Smoltz and Hudson pitched back-to-back last season,which put more pressure on the 3-4-5 spots to do well,but if we mix it up,no one will feel as pressured to do better than the guy before him…and besides,if the guy before Huddy loses,we’ve got a good shot at winning his game because he has a 97-3 record when pitching after a team loss=]…not that I want anyone to lose haha I’m just saying.

  • 13. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 20, 2007 at 11:10 am

    It would be nice if Jurrjens could make the team. I think he’ll start the season in AAA, he could use some more time there. Hampton is pitching in winter ball and should be ready by Spring Training.

  • 14. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 20, 2007 at 11:37 am

    97-3 Brittney!?!? That is insanely awesome! Wow! I had no idea. Just for all the Braves fans out there, Bill James (a highly respected statatician in basbeall) has projected John Smoltz to have the best season of any pitcher other than Johan Santana.

  • 15. Erik  |  November 20, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    I think Bill James and Bill “Spaceman” Lee were out drinking or doing some really heavy hallucenigenics prior to making that projection. At least at this point in time maybe 3 years ago yeah I can see it but now… I doubt that. Maybe if it was projection of Oswalt or Peavy I can see it happening.

  • 16. Erik  |  November 20, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    Oh and for all of you… Rollins is the MVP.. beating Holliday… so Rockies yet again Robbed!

  • 17. Erik  |  November 20, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    I love it Carlos Marmol had a single 10th place vote for MVP… I’m guessing he is a chicago writer…

  • 18. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 20, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    I think Rollins deserved the MVP. I gave a case for him in a previous article. Holliday would’ve been a good choice too but Rollins, in my opinion, deserved it.

  • 19. Aaron Boynton  |  November 21, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    It’s a shame that nobody on the Rockies got any awards. Utley > Rollins for Phillies MVP. When Utley was out, the Phillies were PHLOUNDERING. Once he came back, they rattled off a big winning streak.

    I wish these awards took postseason into consideration. Rollins flamed out when his team needed him most. Holliday was one of the only Rockies to show up against Boston.

    Can you tell I’m bitter that Sabathia won the Cy Young over Beckett?

  • 20. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 22, 2007 at 8:30 am

    Sabathia deserved it (regular season included only) over Beckett. If you included postseason though…

  • 21. apb7721  |  November 22, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    Jonathan and I will fight to the death over Sabathia v Beckett. LOL

  • 22. apb7721  |  November 22, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    Anyways…good for atlanta, but Glavine won’t be any better than say 12-12 next year.


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