Braves offer contract to Glavine
Need for an outfielder limits resources available for legendary lefty
ATLANTA -- With the start of Spring Training just a week away, Braves general manager Frank Wren finds himself with limited financial resources to satisfy roster needs that don't include adding another starting pitcher.
Still, true to the promise he made at the conclusion of the 2008 season, Wren has gained confidence that Tom Glavine is physically capable to pitch this year, and he responded by providing the 300-game winner a contractual offer.
This offer made by Wren earlier this week is believed to have been a one-year Major League contract worth between $1 million and $2 million. With no incentive clauses included, it currently stands as an offer Glavine is hesitant to accept.
With approximately $6 million to $7 million left to spend while still needing to fortify their roster with an outfield bat, the Braves may not be in a position to increase the offer. If this proves to be true, Glavine will have to decide whether his desire to pitch at least one more season is great enough to persuade him to leave his family and pitch outside of Atlanta.
Over the past month, whenever asked about the possibility of pitching for any team other than the Braves, Glavine has responded: "That's so far down the road that I haven't even thought about it."
When asked to respond to this again on Friday afternoon, Glavine said: "We aren't down that road yet."
When Braves pitchers and catchers report to Disney's Wide World of Sports complex on Feb. 14, Glavine doesn't know where he'll be. But as he continues to throw without any discomfort in his left elbow or left shoulder, the 42-year-old left-hander remains confident he'll have the opportunity to pitch somewhere.
"I'm confident I can get a job," said Glavine, whose left elbow and left shoulder were repaired during the same surgical procedure in August.
With Jorge Campillo, Jo-Jo Reyes, Charlie Morton, Tommy Hanson and James Parr, the Braves possess a healthy number of arms to fill the fifth spot in the rotation. They certainly don't have anywhere near this level of depth with their outfield mix.
Just two days away from traveling to Florida to prepare for the start of Spring Training, Atlanta manager Bobby Cox still doesn't know who he'll utilize in left and center field.
In their search to land an outfielder, the Braves continue to look at free agent Bobby Abreu and they also are talking to the Yankees about the possibility of landing either Nick Swisher or Xavier Nady via trade.
With each of these outfielders likely coming at a cost that exceeds $5 million, Atlanta has limited resources to satisfy Glavine, who likely is looking for a contract that includes a guarantee of between $2 million and $3 million and incentives that could double that total.
When the 2008 season concluded, Wren said he would welcome Glavine and John Smoltz back to the organization once they proved they were healthy enough to pitch.
While Smoltz chose to exit before the Braves provided a desirable offer, Glavine has remained patient while continuing to gain both strength and confidence in his physical capabilities.
But if the Braves don't increase the offer -- and there's certainly a strong possibility they won't -- Glavine's patience will be tested to the point where he must determine just how important it is for him to pitch at least one more season in Atlanta.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.