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"Lou is not talking about mechanics when he goes out to the mound,"
~Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Chipper Restructures Contract/Eyre Signs With Cubs

Chipper Jones had mentioned several times over the past year that he would be willing to restructure his contract in order to free up some extra cash for the Braves. The two sides got the deal done today. This will save the Braves $6 million this year and $15 million over the next three. It also guarantees Chipper's contract through 2009. Chipper will be 37 at that point.

What does this mean for the Braves offseason? First of all, I would assume it means they will not be asking Chipper to move to 1st base in order to make room for Andy Marte. After making a sacrifice like this it is difficult, if not completely ungrateful, to turn around and ask the player to move across the diamond.

It may also mean that the Braves are gearing up to make a real push at keeping Rafael Furcal. That could be a good or bad thing for Braves fans. While I realize Furcal's importance to the lineup, I'm not particularly excited about getting into a bidding war over him with the Cubs and Mets. Even $10 million per sounds a bit high, but it's not unreasonable considering the lack of quality SS in the game. I'd prefer to bring him back at $8 million for no more than 4 years. It wouldn't be a bit surprising to see him end up with a 5yr/$60 million deal. I just pray it's not the Braves that offer it. I think the Braves are smarter than that. The Cubs may be smarter than that. The Mets undoubtably are not.

I don't mean to bash the Cubs or imply they are not a good organization. That wouldn't be true, nor would it be a tactful statement considering the percentage of our readers that are Cubs fans. I just think that Hendry seems to be so set on Raffy that he would pay a higher price than normal.

He also just spent $11 million over the next two years on Scott Eyre. Granted, Eyre was among the best middle relievers in the game last year, but the fact remains that he is still just a middle reliever. I'm also wary of guys who post great numbers in contract years when their career averages don't measure up. Here's a look at Eyre's 2005 season.


Those are great numbers but I don't think they're indicitive of what he'll do next year. I expect some type of regression back to his career averages. Here they are.


It seems like a risky move that the Cubs could end up regretting. Or Eyre could pitch as well as he did last year and make Hendry look smart by going out and getting the top reliever on the market. Relievers are always the most difficult postion to project so we'll just have to play the wait-and-see game.

Before I go, big ups to Chipper for helping out the team. Too often we spend too much time talking about the negative aspects of sports. It's refreshing to hear stories about guys who make individual sacrifices for the benefit of his teammates.

It's also worth noting that Kevin Garnett has pledged to donate $2 million to victims of Hurricane Katrina. I know the guy is loaded and still under 30, but that's some serious dough. I believe Garnett is from South Carolina. Maybe it shouldn't make a difference, but in my mind his donation is even more generous considering he's not from the area.

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