The Atlanta Braves on Friday offered 42 year old left hander, Tom Glavine, the opportuinity to pitch in Atlanta for one more year before calling a halt to his illustrious career. The offer, believed to be somewhere in the region of $1-2m though may not be enough to tempt the two-time Cy Young Award winner to stay with the team that brought him back from the Mets in 2008 after a 5-year stint away.
From the Braves' perspective, Glavine can offer the team a wealth of experience that has yielded over 300 career wins and the 1995 World Series as well as clubhouse leadership skills much needed after the departure of John Smoltz to the Red Sox in January. Nonetheless, as Braves GM Frank Wren has consistently shown, the Braves would not offer a contract to a player unless they thought he could make a positive contribution on the field.
The issue regarding Glavine's latest contract offer is the Braves' need for a power-hitting outfielder outweighing the need for more starting pitching. It is believed that the Braves have only $7m to spend on both, and whilst wanting to keep Glavine, the need for an outfielder is more pressing.
For Glavine, it once again comes down to the issue of respect. His family is settled in the Atlanta area and at this time in his career, his priorities are more family oriented, which is understandable. Consequently, Glavine would like to finish his career with the Braves. However, if he perceives the contract offer to be unacceptable, there is no doubt he would look to continue his illustrious career at another club.
Glavine told MLB.com last week "I'm confident I can get a job". In the end, it may be the case that Glavine goes the way of Smoltz and departs for pastures new. Though hurtful as this may once again prove for the fans, at least this time the loss to the team may not prove as great. Time will tell, but the Braves have now taken the first step and the ball is firmly in Glavine's court.
Andrew Bracegirdle - 7 February 2009