Sports Outside the Beltway

Smoltz signs extension with Braves news services

The Atlanta Braves have reached an agreement on a contract extension with pitcher John Smoltz, ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney reports.

As part of the agreement, Smoltz will receive $14 million in 2008. The deal includes a vesting option for the 2009 season that automatically kicks in if Smoltz pitches in at least 200 innings in 2008. There also is a team option for 2010.

Financial details for the 2009 season is not yet known.

I personally was glad to see this deal get done. I couldn’t imagine John Smoltz ending his career with another team. He was originally with the Tigers but never made it to the big league club. Smoltz was traded to the Braves on August 12, 1987 for starting pitcher Doyle Alexander. Alexander was a 36 year old that actually did great after the trade going 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA in 11 starts helping the Tigers win the AL East pennant. Alexander later went 0-2 in the ALCS with an ERA of 10.00 and 20-29 for the Tigers the next two seasons. Smoltz has won a Cy Young award, and is currently 195-138 with a 3.28 ERA, 2800 strike outs, and 154 saves and only 5 blown saves.

The Braves have currently surrounded Smoltz in the rotation with Tim Hudson and Chuck James, and a given him a great bullpen that includes Bob Wickman, Mike Gonzalez, and Rafael Soriano. The Braves also have future Hall-of-Famer Chipper Jones and young studs Brian McCann and Kelly Johnson, not to mention young veterans like Edgar Renteria and Andruw Jones.

Andruw Jones, more than likely, won’t be in a Braves uniform next year. Braves GM John Schuerholz knows what he is doing though. If he can’t retain Jones then he will replace him with some very good talent, possibly Rays CF Rocco Baldelli or Elijah Dukes.

Getting this deal done with Smoltz was huge for the Braves future. This shows that they are set on winning. Smoltz has stated that he wouldn’t mind going elsewhere if it meant playing for a team that is out to win it all. Smoltz and the Braves have made it clear that they both want to win. This deal also prove how good of a GM John Schuerholz truly is. Pure genius!

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