When Braves President Terry McGuirk claimed Rafael Furcal had backed out of an agreement to sign with Atlanta, we were all appalled.
How could he?
Furcal and his agents denied committing to Atlanta, but who are you going to believe, the selfish ballplayer with the DUI conviction and his sleazy agents, or the model organization that won 14 consecutive division titles and managed to make J.D. Drew healthy and Gary Sheffield tolerable?
Obviously, we all believed the Braves.
But today Atlanta is once again crying foul, and this time I’m not buying it.
Here’s what McGuirk had to say about John Smoltz’s decision to sign a one-year contract with the Red Sox:
“John is a great guy. He follows his own head, and I just don’t know what’s going on with him right now,” McGuirk said, according to the report. “We’ve offered less of a guarantee, but we’ve offered a substantial guarantee. Coming off an injury like this, we feel like it’s the right thing that we should be doing.
“We’ve offered him a package that would get him in the $10 million range, if he were to pitch a full season and pitch well,” McGuirk said, according to the AJC. “For him to walk away from that and to go to another place, I’m just shocked and surprised.
Here’s the facts. Smoltz made $14MM in 2008. This offseason, the Braves declined an option to keep Smoltz in Atlanta in 2009. Then Atlanta strung Smoltz along for weeks before finally offering him a contract for far less guaranteed money than other teams were offering — and far, far less than he made last year.
Now, I’m not saying the Braves should have made Smoltz a bigger offer. Frankly, I think they were wise not to throw too much cash at a 42 year-old pitcher coming off shoulder surgery. But to claim you’re “shocked and surprised”? First of all, that’s redundant. Second of all, you can’t be serious. The Red Sox offered Smoltz nearly twice as much guaranteed money and a chance to pitch in maybe the best baseball city in America for a team that has an excellent chance of going to the postseason. And you’re surprised he’s going to Boston?
The Braves’ front office used to be the gold standard. But times have clearly changed.