Braves stunned by Smoltz's decision
ATLANTA -- Bobby Cox has been through this before.
Tom Glavine left. So did Greg Maddux and Andruw Jones.
Still, the longtime Atlanta manager sounded as though he took a shot to the gut when John Smoltz called this week to deliver the stunning news: He was signing with the Boston Red Sox after 21 years with the Braves.
"He said, 'I appreciate pitching for you.' I was like, 'John, holy cow, what are you doing here?"' Cox said Friday, remembering his call from Smoltz earlier in the week. "It really hit me then. You hate giving up one of your best guys. He'll be a Hall of Famer for sure."
The 41-year-old Smoltz had spent his entire big league career with the Braves, but that run came to an end when he agreed this week to a $5.5 million, one-year contract that could be worth another $5 million in bonuses based largely on how much time he spends on Boston's active roster.
The Braves weren't willing to guarantee that kind of money to an aging pitcher coming off major shoulder surgery, which led to a departure with bitter overtones -- not unlike Glavine's decision to sign with the New York Mets in 2002 after 16 seasons in Atlanta.
The Braves' proposal was for $2 million -- and the bar to reach some $8 million in possible incentives was much higher than Boston's proposal. Smoltz went so far as to issue a statement saying "there were large discrepancies between the offer from the Braves and offers from other teams."
"We were all surprised. We had hoped John would remain a Brave," general manager Frank Wren said. "But as we approached this offseason, we made it very clear to everyone that we did not want the same thing to happen to us that happened to us last year. We had to focus on rebuilding the pitching staff with players who had some certainty of being able to start the season healthy for us."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Sanchez odd man out with Pirates recalling Stewart
- Gameday: Pirates vs./at Opponent, Month Day, Year
- Marte’s bat, Worley’s arm show improvement in Pirates win
- Pirates get ready to face Brewers pitcher Nelson, hope for better results
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Brewers, April 17, 2015
- Pirates notebook: Slumping Marte sits; Hart gets start
- Pirates’ Melancon isn’t worried about drop in velocity
- Pirates notebook: Hart homers to reach milestone
- Tigers pitcher Greene outduels Burnett as Pirates lose tight game
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Tigers, April 15, 2015
- Pirates notebook: Burnett, Cervelli rekindle bond