If someone told me last month that John Smoltz would ever leave Atlanta and consider the possibility of playing in another uniform, I would have laughed at you.
Now it looks like one of the mainstays of those great Braves teams is now moving north to Boston. The Braves have seemingly given up on John Smoltz, due to his injuries and recovery from shoulder surgery. It looks like he will be joining the Red Sox in 2009.
From Boston.com: The Sox also are trying to hash out an agreement with free agent righthander John Smoltz, who is recovering from shoulder surgery. Smoltz, 41, would likely not be able to pitch until late May, but the Sox normally overstaff their starting rotation to account for injuries, as they did with Bartolo Colon last season.If this is all true -- which I think it is -- it would be a sad day for Braves fans and could be a PR disaster in that part of the country. How does the Braves heirarchy explain this turn of events to their fanbase?
Sources indicated last night that Smoltz was leaning toward Boston's offer, which was said to be in the vicinity of $5.5 million guaranteed, with the opportunity to earn up to $10 million with incentives. The Sox and Smoltz have been talking since before the winter meetings. One of the incentives being discussed would be a roster bonus if Smoltz is with the team by June 1.
Smoltz has spent all 20 of his major league seasons with Atlanta, which has expressed a desire for him to return.
For the Red Sox, if they find Smoltz is still effective and healthy despite his advanced age, they'll have even more formidable pitching rotation than anyone could have imagined.