Derek Lowe Traded To Indians; Braves save $5 m

It’s one of those deals that you makes you think the Braves wanted to get done before the Indians changed their minds. Derek Lowe was sent to the Indians, along with a bunch of money, from the Atlanta Braves’ for a minor league left-hander Chris Jones. As part of the deal, the Indians will only have to pay Lowe $5 million of the $15 million he’s scheduled to make in 2012. Lowe signed a four-year $60 million deal as a free agent with Atlanta before the 2009 season. Jones, 23, went 7-1 with a 3.36 ERA in 43 appearances for Kinston (A).

The Indians got the 38-year old 166-game winner who induces ground balls, and the Braves saved $5 million. Lowe joins Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Masterson, Josh Tomlin and Fausto Carmona in a rotation that sounds better than it is. Before the deal for Lowe was announced, the Indians picked up Carmona’s $7 million option for 2012.

“He’s a quality pitcher with durability, pitching 180 innings or more every year since 2002,” Antonetti said. “The last time he was on the disabled list was 1995. In addition to his durability, there’s some leadership potential. His experience will complement a very young rotation. One of our goals was to improve our starting pitching.

“This goes a long way towards that. Stability is important. Also, he can be a positive influence on young starting pitchers with similar skills.”

Lowe went just 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA in 34 starts last season, his third with Atlanta. His 17 losses led the league. With right-hander Carlos Carrasco out for the season following Tommy John surgery, the Indians, who traded top prospects Alex White and Drew Pomeranz to Colorado for Jimenez in July, needed another established starter and Atlanta needed to move Lowe who went 0-5 in September for the Braves thinking that he was still pitching for the Red Sox.

To their credit, the Indians hope he can impact and mentor their young pitchers the way veteran Kevin Millwood did when they signed him in 2005.

The Braves also picked up their club option on utility player and pinch-hitter Eric Hinske and declined its club option on outfielder Nate McLouth.

Pitchers with 30 starts per year since 2002