Frank Wren is a man on a mission.
In a bit of shocking news on Monday morning, the Atlanta Braves traded away much-maligned "ace" Derek Lowe to the Cleveland Indians for prospect Chris Jones. Lowe was set to earn $15 million dollars in the final year of his contract and the Braves received $5 million in cash considerations.
This may not seem like a lot, but with a tight budget, it could do a lot for Atlanta in their offseason spending plans. The team also announced they exercised Eric Hinske's option for 2012 on Monday morning.
Lowe's tenure in Atlanta will be remembered widely as a failure. He had moments of brilliance -- his first start in 2009 against the Phillies and the playoff run in 2010 come to mind -- but it was his inconsistency that continually drew the ire of Braves Country.
Wren had stated earlier this offseason that Lowe was not a candidate for the starting rotation and would either be traded or sent to the bullpen. The GM went with the first option and got a decent return for the 39-year old.
Chris Jones is a left-handed pitcher who was a 15th round pick in the 2007 draft. He is not a great prospect nor does he project to be a starting pitcher, but he could be a solid left landed option out of the bullpen in a few short years.
This trade is simply about the money. Wren did a nice job finding an early suitor for Lowe, and while eating $10 million dollars of the contract next year will not be fun, it's a lot better than the alternative. No one wanted another situation similar to the one Atlanta had with Kenshin Kawakami this past season.
As for what this means for next year's ball club, as previously stated, it gives Wren a little more flexibility in his search for a shortstop, outfielder, or any other player the team pursues in the next few months. It also opens a spot on the 25-man roster for next year; most likely one in the bullpen.
Good move, Braves. Let's keep it up.