New owner MUST keep Smoltzie
Yeah, it could be a bad sign that Dayton Moore’s bolting. But it will be grim news indeed if ownership does not jump on Smoltzie’s 2007 option. At $8 million, that’s a bargain for an elite starter who’s also the most popular player on the team and its undisputed leader. Oh yeah, and he wants to come back, he told the local organ.
Think of it this way – the Bravos can re-up No. 29 for about a third what Houston’s paying Roger Clemens. In pure baseball terms and as a PR move, it would be spectacularly stupid and shortsighted not to exercise the option. Let Smoltzie go and you might as well double beer prices, ban cell phones at games, kill the seventh-inning stretch, show “Bonds on Bonds” constantly on the big center field screen, frisk every spectator, make fans return foul balls to security.
Baseball is a business, yes. And guys rarely spend entire careers in one place. But Smoltz has sacrificed money to stay here a couple of times. Eight million is, conservatively, about 50 percent less than he could command on the open market. By comparison, Clemens, who has been a shade better than Smoltz but is also three years older, is milking the Astros for a prorated $22 million one-year salary.
If Liberty, or some other owner, wants to immediately and completely alienate the players and fans, there’d be no better way than exiling the greatest Atlanta Brave ever.
A note on last night's game: Fine performance all around by the home team, and I was pleased by a marked increase in organ music. Bravo, Bravos.