When the Atlanta Braves released Tom Glavine, it was widely speculated throughout baseball that he was merely dumped because Atlanta didn't feel like paying him a $1 million bonus that he would have been due if he had been called up to their Major League roster.
Motives aside, the move that has landed Glavine on the open market is one that has probably opened a lot of eyes of MLB general mangers. There are a lot of teams out there who are in dire need of another solid starting pitcher, and even though Glavine is certainly on the downward slope of his career, he could still be a good, pretty cheap addition to a team.
The question then becomes: Which team could use the services of Glavine the most? Obviously, he shouldn't be counted upon to resurrect an entire rotation, but for teams looking for good mentor-type guys who can still produce, Glavine is certainly a good guy.
Which teams could find the most use for him? There are five teams in baseball who could find some great use for him.
1. Milwaukee Brewers
When we saw the Brewers last season, their rotation was stocked with guys who could throw the ball well. Guys like CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets anchored the staff, and the pitching was good enough to win the NL Wild Card, for the team's first playoff appearance in 26 years.
This year, the team isn't exactly swimming in pitching talent. Braden Looper is 5-3, but he has an ERA of 4.65 and a WHIP of 1.39. Manny Parrra is also having a hugely disappointing season, going 3-7 thus far with an ERA of 6.75 and a WHIP of 1.83, a number that is simply painful to look at.
Also, Jeff Suppan is not pitching well at all, with an ERA over five and a 1.61 WHIP.
With these stats in mind for most of the rotation, it is pretty obvious that Glavine's experience would help solidify the fourth spot in the team's rotation and give them at least a fighting chance to win a division title in the weak NL Central.
2. Toronto Blue Jays
Since the departure of A.J. Burnett, no one has really stepped up to the rubber and delivered the consistent starts that makes for a good No. 2 guy to ace Roy Halladay, who is having a career year.
The problems, it seems, are pretty small, but a team with as many young pitchers as the Blue Jays have can always use more veteran leadership. With three starters under the age of 30, Glavine could be an indispensable asset.
Also, Glavine would probably perform well in the spacious SkyDome (I'll be damned if I call it Rogers Centre), and his cheap contract would be a boon to a team still paying Vernon Wells big bucks.
3. Texas Rangers
In Texas, it is obviously a hitter's paradise. Guys like Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, and Chris Davis have powered the Rangers into first place in the AL West. The question, however, is whether a team with historically weak pitching can continue to stay out in front of the Angels and Mariners in the division.
Glavine's experience would definitely be a benefit to a team that is relying on young guys like Brandon McCarthy and Scott Feldman. He also has an ability to keep the ball in the park with his good ability to mask and locate his pitches.
Glavine could easily slide into the fifth spot in Texas' rotation, and he could be a key piece if the team hopes to make the postseason, which is as rare in Arlington, Texas, as a blinding snowstorm.
4. San Francisco Giants
With two of the best young pitchers in the game on their roster in Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, the Giants are poised for a long-term run of good pitching from their top guys.
Also, with a young catcher in Pablo Sandoval, the Giants are relying on a young battery on most nights, and this can sometimes be problematic in the heat of a playoff race.
If the team is going to have any hope of catching the Dodgers, or at least competing for a Wild Card berth, they will need some veteran leadership and a clutch pitcher in tough situations.
Glavine will provide that leadership, and he can also draw upon his experiences in the postseason with the Braves to help the youngsters if they ever hit any extended slumps.
5. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox are perhaps the most ideal team to try to take a flyer on Glavine. Granted, Clayton Richard and Bartolo Colon haven't been terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but when you get the opportunity to upgrade at starting pitcher, you will jump at it.
Also, you can clearly see that the team is still committed to winning right now. Judging by the trade attempts to land Jake Peavy and Roy Oswalt, GM Ken Williams still thinks the Sox can win the AL Central, and with some younger guys like Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez leading the way, they may be able to do just that.
Of course, getting Glavine would be a great thing for the White Sox. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf is notoriously tight when it comes to shelling out dollars, but if he could land Glavine and throw him in the rotation in place of either Richard or Colon, he would provide a good compliment to John Danks and Gavin Floyd. He also wouldn't have to worry about being the ace of the staff, as that responsibility already falls on Mark Buehrle.
The Sox would be well advised to at least take a good, hard look at the veteran lefty as an alternative to trying to package their best prospects for guys who may not pitch well in the bandbox that U.S. Cellular Field is known as.
I don't know where Mr. Glavine will end up, but if I were to guess, it would be to one of these five teams. These teams could certainly use his services, and it will be interesting to see if the decision by the Braves to release him will come back to haunt them.
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