Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Market for Derek Lowe

As one of the best pitchers available on the free agent market this winter, you'd figure that Derek Lowe would have a handful of suitors lined up to obtain his services. For awhile it seemed that way, but right now, where Lowe ends up seems rather murky.

All along we have heard that Lowe would prefer to pitch on the east coast, preferably with the Yankees or Red Sox.

The Yankees seemed to be interested in Lowe for awhile and it was even reported by's Jon Heyman that the Yankees were preparing a 4 year/$66 mil offer for Lowe. But ultimately, the Yanks decided to spend big bucks on AJ Burnett, which probably takes them out of the running for Lowe.

Burnett signing with the Yankees undercut the market for Lowe. Agent Scott Boras and Lowe could no longer depend on the free spending Yankees to come up with a huge offer for Lowe despite the lukewarm interest from the rest of the league. Don't get me wrong, there are many teams that would love to get their hands on Lowe, but his asking price right now is astronomical, especially for a 36 year old.

In addition, the Red Sox interest in Lowe never really materialized as the Sox already have a deep rotation and seem focus on signing 1b Mark Teixeira.

With those two clubs probably out of the picture, the market for Lowe seems rather puzzling at this point. The Phillies seemed to have interest in Lowe from the start of free agency, but they have since signed Raul Ibanez, which might have taken Lowe out of their price range. Also, the recent signings of Jaime Moyer and Chan Ho Park probably eliminate the Phillies from the Derek Lowe sweepstakes.

So whose left? The Mets, Braves, and Cubs all have holes in their rotation and would be a good fit for Lowe, but I doubt any of those teams would give Lowe the $15 mil a year he is looking for.

The market for Lowe has been slow developing thus far despite being one of the most sought after free agents on the market. Best case scenario for Lowe: the Yankees and Andy Pettitte cannot work out a deal, which leads the Yankees to panic a give Lowe the huge deal he seeks.

But panic in this market is very unlikely given how many teams are not spending and how many quality free agents there are. Lowe will still get a big contract, but $15 mil a year might be out of the picture at this point.

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