The news Wednesday morning was about how well Tom Galvine did in his rehab start for the Rome Braves -- 6 scoreless innings. All the reports were about "when" not "if" Glavine would join the big league ball club and the starting rotation for his farewell tour in an Atlanta Braves uniform. By Wednesday afternoon all that had changed.
Frank Wren said during Wednesday night's game that the Braves had several evaluations that thought Glavine could not pitch at the major league level. That's a pretty harsh judgment for a veteran pitcher who threw well in spring training and has proven his craftiness in recent years. Didn't he deserve at least a chance to prove that he could still pitch in the majors?
Glavine's friend and long time teammate John Smoltz, who himself left Atlanta unceremoniously this off-season, had this to say about the Braves' decision:
"That's just not how you treat people. He didn't have a chance to fail at that level, if that was the issue or concern," Smoltz said. "It's just not how you go about it. They're in control and they made those decisions. They've made a lot of them lately."
From the Braves perspective, it was probably not worth the $1 million they would have had to pay him just by adding him to the 25-man roster, just to see if he could "fail at that level."
Especially when one considers that the team had a trade that was almost a done deal with the Pirates for Nate McLouth. According to Frank Wren, that trade developed over the weekend. Even though McLouth is not making that much this year, we have no idea how tight the Braves payroll might be, and saving every million may eventually end up allowing them to add another player if one is needed.
Another factor in the Braves decision, may have been (finally) the realization that putting Tom Glavine in the rotation is not moving forward as a club. Tommy Hanson is the future and he's ready now, check that, he's dominant at triple-A right now, and is the guy who should be in the rotation.
The money and the younger pitchers both made Tom Glavine unnecessary for the Braves. Not only unnecessary, but as a club that is trying to build long term and is set to try and compete with the majority of the personnel is has for several more years, the right move was to put someone else into that fifth-starter role who could grow with the club. It's unfortunate for Glavine and all those who like him, but the Braves made the right decision.
I think we can say now that Tom Glavine may have been an insurance policy against Tommy Hanson not being ready. On the flip side, how much added pressure does this put on Hanson, knowing that he is essentially taking the spot of a future Hall of Famer?
With the need for pitching around the big leagues, and Glavine apparently ready to step into a major league rotation, he will have to decide if he wants to pitch again. According to Ken Rosenthal, Glavine's agent had already been contacted by three clubs seeking the left-hander's services. So if he wants to keep pitching, it certainly seems like someone will give him a chance.