The long suffering off-season of the Atlanta Braves just might work out for GM Frank Wren, Bobby Cox, and company. Thursday's meeting with SP Derek Lowe went extremely well and the Braves are expected to submit a contract offer to the free-agent righthander by Monday or Tuesday.
Lowe would solidify the front end of the rotation along with Javier Vazquez, the back end maybe set as well when 33-year old Japanese righthander Kenshin Kawakami pays a visit on Sunday.
After failing to get Jake Peavy from San Diego and finishing second in the A.J. Burnett sweepstakes, the Braves could sign Lowe for less years and money than the injury-prone Burnett and held onto to their best prospects: pitcher Tommy Hanson and OF Jordan Schafer.
The Mets are still holding steadfast on their offer to Lowe and signed former Nationals starter, Tim Redding, to a very reasonable one-year, $2.25 million deal. Expect GM Omar Minaya to step up his efforts on Oliver Perez now that Lowe seems out of their price range.
Trevor Hoffman's signing with the Brewers will more than replace Soloman Torres, but will do very little to make up for the losses of C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets. The Crew's only chance for starting pitching will be to put Prince Fielder on the market before Scott Boras take him elsewhere after 2011 season.
The trade of Mike Cameron never went down, but look for veteran to be on a contender (probably the Yankees) by July 31st.
The Rangers are still the leader in the clubhouse on starter Ben Sheets, although no offer has been made. Also discussed is oft-injured 3B Joe Crede, which would leave Hank Blalock strictly a DH. Expect big things from young slugger Chris Davis at 1B.
The Phillies are greasing the wheels on former two-time AL batting champion Nomar Garciaparra to be part of their bench. The world champions are in need of a righthander hitter and Nomar could fit the bill if he's interested in playing a the East Coast for a low ball salary.