Future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine: Should He Retire Now?

Wes HoltzclawCorrespondent IMay 21, 2009

WASHINGTON - APRIL 30:  Pitcher Tom Glavine #47 of the Atlanta Braves watches his team take on the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 30, 2008 in Washington, D.C. The Nationals defeated the Braves 3-2 in 12 innnings.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Atlanta Braves' great Tom Glavine is getting ready to come off the Disabled List in a few weeks. In all honesty, Tommy needs to go ahead hang up his cleats and retire.

Now before anyone jumps on me for not giving Glavine his due respect, please think of what would be best for him and for the Braves organization.

Last season, the Braves showed their true weakness—starting pitching. The starting rotation gave way to the bullpen way too early and way too often.

To cure the problem they signed Derek Lowe, Kenshin Kawakami, and traded for Javier Vazquez. The Braves envisioned these three, along with Jair Jurrjens, being exactly what the doctor ordered—starting pitchers that would eat innings and protect the bullpen.

So far this season Lowe, Vazquez, and Jurrjens have not disappointed.

In nine starts, Lowe is 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA pitching 55.1 innings. Vazquez is 4-3 with a 3.39 ERA pitching 58.1 innings in his nine starts and Jurrjens is 4-2 with a 1.96 ERA pitching 55 innings in his nine starts.

The problem with Glavine is that he is 43 years old and after 21 seasons without going on the DL, his body began to break down. Last season he was placed on the DL twice with the second stint ending his 22nd season.

After signing a one-year contract worth $8 million, Glavine was far from Glavine-like when he was on the mound and healthy in '08.

Before opting for season ending elbow and shoulder surgery, Glavine was toting a 2-4 record, a 5.54 ERA, and pitched a total of 63.1 innings in his 13 starts. That was an average of 4.2 innings a start.

What was even more surprising about his numbers was the 37 walks to go along with opponents batting .288 against him.

With that said, I pose a few questions for the Braves faithful.

What will happen when a much younger Tim Hudson is ready to come off the DL in August? I believe at this stage in both players careers that Hudson would be the better option as the fifth starter.

What should the team do until August? Why don't we go ahead and bring up our ace-in-waiting Tommy Hanson?

Hanson has shown that he is ready for the big leagues now with a 1.70 ERA, 64 strike outs, 14 walks, and a .091 WHIP at Triple-A Gwinnett.

The rotation of Lowe, Vazquez, Kawakami, Jurrjens, and Hanson will give the Braves the best opportunity to compete in the NL East.

When August comes, if Kawakami has not improved from where he is now, put Hudson in his spot in the rotation for the playoff run.

Glavine, with his 305 career wins, has proved he is one of the best lefties to pitch not only in an Atlanta uniform, but also in the major leagues.

But if the Braves want to win now, lets honor Glavine the best way we know how, retire his No. 47 jersey so that he can go where he belongs, the Hall of Fame.