John Smoltz is 2-5 with an 8.33 ERA so far this season.
Before I go any further I want the readers to understand I absolutely love Smoltz. What he did for Atlanta and his charitable contributions should be commended and can't go without praise.
Having said that, I really have to tip my cap to Frank Wren for holding out on Smoltz during the off season. I know, I know, people will be shouting from the roof tops, "They disrespected an icon!" "He was mistreated!" Blah blah blah, blah blah blah!
But looking at those numbers would you really want Smoltz in the Atlanta rotation? I didn't think so. The issue with Smoltz in the off season was his belief of a low offer from Atlanta. But I commend Wren for not putting person over team. The Braves could not afford to guarantee $5 million to a 42-year-old coming off of a major shoulder surgery.
Smoltz was miffed over the Braves out cry and disbelief that he would sign elsewhere which by all rights he should have been. Perhaps the Braves should have stayed quiet but at the same time they needed to say something to try and save face.
In the end, whether it was handled poorly or handled classy...it was handled. Smoltz is at the end of his career and Wren saw that. The pitching dynasty of Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux is over and it is time for the Jurrjens and Hanson era to begin. Once again Wren saw that.
After watching the Yankees pound Smoltz for 3 1/3 innings, my heart was broken because I saw a man who knew the end was near. I give him all the world of respect for at least attempting to come back, but here's a quote from him after the game, "I'm pretty humbled right now. Time may not be on my side if this continues. I can't keep doing what I'm doing," (ESPN).
I feel for the Braves Icon, but at the same time I'm glad he's not getting lit up in an Atlanta uniform costing us precious games during this final stretch run.
Maybe the Braves make the playoffs, maybe they don't. But the innings Smoltz would have gotten are being giving to the other pitchers who are only going to get better as the pitch more.
Smoltz is starting to hear the whispers of retirement from sports columnists all over. And as much as we have seen time and time again from Smoltz always rising from the ashes. But with all the battles Smotlz has waged over the years, the one he is sure to lose to is Father Time.