Would he be worth $7 million? What is the threshold at which we should agreeably say, "come back to Atlanta Tom, come back for $X million." While I've never been one to shy away from criticizing Tom, I am aware that he is still a useful pitcher. But what I'm concerned about is whether or not he is that dominant pitcher who can win the "majority" of big games. It vexes me that we keep hearing that Glavine wants to return to Atlanta to be closer to his family, but I wonder how much money he is willing to leave on the table to do it. Money also comes into play when talking about the difference between Glavine and Smoltz. Surely we wouldn't pay Glavine more than Smoltz (who will make $8 million next year), but would we pay him as much?
We will start to hear a lot more about the Glavine decision this week as he begins his talks with the Braves:
Aside from money, and how much or how little would it take to get him to "jump back" to the Braves, AJC beat writer David O'Brien thinks the Glavine talks with Atlanta will come down to the existence or absence of a no-trade clause. O'Brien paints us this picture:
What's to stop the Braves from trading him to Seattle? Then, Glavine's a free agent at the end of the season and once again facing the likelihood of pitching for a new team far from home if he wants to continue pitching.
So we've just thrown up two road blocks to Glavine becoming a Brave again; (1) less money than he would get in New York (it could be a lot less), and (2) no protection against being traded. With respect to the no-trade bit, Glavine really did that to himself by throwing away his 10-5 rights when he signed with the Mets three years ago. If he had stayed put in Atlanta for (what was reported to be) only $1 million less per season then he would have retained his veteran rights to veto any trade.
Furthermore, when it comes to finding a pitcher who can win big in the postseason, the common wisdom is to go with a power pitcher, which Glavine is not. Would we be wasting our money on Glavine verses finding a younger power arm who could give us better results when it counts? Granted, those kinds of arms are difficult to acquire, but we have a lot of chips to trade this year - Giles, HoRam, Langy, Salty, Yunel - couldn't some combination of those players net us someone like Peavy or Ervin Santana or C.C. Sabathia? And if we did acquire someone of that ilk via trade, I would think we would want to sign that person to a longer term deal, and tying up money in old-man Glavine would hinder that effort.
If we do sign Glavine, I'll do some light one hand clapping, but I'd rather see us go after a higher ceiling guy who can begin the process of reforming the core of our starting pitching in the post-Smoltz era.