It was a busy day for two of the principals of the Red Sox’s curse-breaking 2004 World Series title.
In Chicago, Theo Epstein made his first major move as the Cubs’ president of baseball operations, exercising the team’s $16 million option on Aramis Ramirez. The 3B then used his contractual right to void the option, forfeiting a $2 million buyout but potentially entering a lucrative free-agent market.
Whether or not Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer knew Ramirez would void the deal, the moves comes across as shrewd. If Ramirez had accepted, Chicago would have had a very solid bat on the hot corner in a low-risk deal for right around market value.
Since Ramirez declined, the team will get draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere, without paying the buyout.
Derek Lowe, meanwhile, didn’t have quite as good a day.
The Braves dumped the aging RHP to the Indians for a minor-league LHP. Atlanta was so desperate to get rid of the ineffective 38-year-old that they’re paying $10 million of his $15 million salary in 2012.
Cleveland, for its part, seems happy to have Lowe, who won 70 games in eight years with Boston.
“He’s a quality pitcher with durability, pitching 180 innings or more every year since 2002,” GM Chris 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 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA in 2011.