Turns out declining Grady Sizemore‘s 2012 option and picking up Fausto Carmona‘s aren’t the biggest news to come out of the Indians front office today: Cleveland has acquired starting pitcher Derek Lowe from the Atlanta Braves.
The Indians sent pitching prospect Chris Jones to Atlanta for Lowe and $10 million to cover two-thirds of his 2012 salary. The Indians will owe him $5 million of his $15 million salary next year.
Lowe, 38, is entering the final year of the four-year, $60 million contract he signed in 2009. He went 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA (3.75 SIERA) this season with a 59-percent groundball rate, good for second-best in baseball. In his career, he’s gone 166-146 with a 3.94 ERA and 47.1 fWAR.
While his peripherals remained roughly in line with his career marks, Lowe’s 5.05 ERA was one of the worst of his career, and he seemed likely to lose his spot in the Braves’ rotation in 2012. Having accepted Lowe’s salary as sunk cost, they can now use the $5 million of payroll space they freed up to address other roster needs.
Jones, 23, was the Indians’ 15th-round pick in the 2007 amateur draft. This year he posted a 3.36 ERA and a 2.2 K/BB ratio at High-A Kinston, and he has a career 3.47 ERA in 295.1 minor league innings. Baseball America‘s Kevin Goldstein sees him as a lefty specialist, saying left-handed hitters “can’t touch him.”