|Derek Lowe ran up an 8.75 ERA in five September starts for the Braves, including a five-runs-in-four-innings clunker in Game No. 161 as Atlanta fought for its playoff life. So eager were the Braves to be rid of the 38-year-old righthander that they kicked in two-thirds of his $15 million salary for 2012 and received only high Class A lefty Chris Jones from the Indians in return.
Trading Lowe opens a rotation spot in 2012 for one of the Braves' heralded pitching prospects, be it Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino or Randall Delgado. That trio of righthanders ranks Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in the system, and all three finished the 2011 season in Atlanta.
Cleveland previously fortified its rotation with the July acquisition of Ubaldo Jimenez, and now it welcomes Lowe to a group of extreme groundball starters. According to Fan Graphs, Lowe ranked second among all qualified starters in 2011 with a groundball rate of 59 percent (considering all balls put in play against him, whether hits or outs). Indians righties Justin Masterson (55.1 percent) and Fausto Carmona (54.8) ranked seventh and eighth among the 94 qualified starters, while Jimenez (47.2) ranked 34th.
|Chris Jones, lhp
Born: Sept. 19, 1988 in Tampa.
Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 202. Bats: L. Throws: L.
School: Gaither HS, Tampa.
Career Transactions: Selected by Indians in 15th round of 2007 draft; signed Aug. 15, 2007.
Jones has spent most of the past two seasons with high Class A Kinston working as a multi-inning reliever. While his strikeout (8.4) and walk (3.7) rates per nine innings are ordinary for an A-ball reliever, Jones has allowed only one home run to a lefty batter with Kinston the past two years, holding them to a .172 (27-for-157) average. His primary pitches are a high-80s fastball and a slurvy high-70s curveball, but he owes much of his success to a deceptive delivery that hides the ball from lefty batters.
|Derek Lowe, rhp
Age: 38. Remaining Commitment: 1 year, $15 million (Braves send $10 million).
Contract details courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts.