Great news today out of Atlanta. The Braves signed John Smoltz to a contract that will virtually guarantee that he ends his career as an Atlanta Brave. I saw him pitch 18 years ago at the first Major League Baseball game I ever attended during his first full season in the Majors (If memory serves correct he lost 2-0 to Rick Reuschel’s San Francisco Giants. UPDATE: I was right, here’s the boxscore. I remember the Kevin Mitchell homerun, he hit 47 that year and was the NL MVP. I didn’t remember that Smoltz pitched a complete game and had 10 strikeouts. We may have left early.) and I’ve followed his career each step of the way. I’m happy that I will get to see him finish his career as an Atlanta Brave!
The official press release by the Braves is included below:
The Atlanta Braves announced today that they have agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher John Smoltz on a contract extension for 2008, with options for 2009 and 2010. The deal, which includes a guaranteed contract for the 2008 season, with a vesting option for 2009 and a club option for 2010, virtually guarantees that the 39-year-old Smoltz will play his entire Major League career in a Braves uniform. Financial terms were not announced.
Smoltz, who could have been a free agent after the 2007 season, owns a career record of 195-138 (.586) with 154 saves and a 3.28 ERA. He is one of only two pitchers (Hall-of-Famer Dennis Eckersley is the other) in baseball history to post at least 150 wins and 150 saves in his career.
“This is a significant contract, both for the Braves and for John Smoltz,” said Braves Executive Vice President and General Manager John Schuerholz. “We are delighted that John will be a Brave for at least next season and hopefully well beyond that. Through an amazing stretch of success, John has been a huge part of our club, both with his pitching and his leadership. He will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”
“Words can’t describe how thrilled I am to have the opportunity to finish my career as an Atlanta Brave,” said Smoltz, who turns 40 on May 15. “I am thankful to the Braves organization for giving me the chance to play this long and to play out my entire career with one team.”
Braves Manager Bobby Cox added, “This is great news because John is such an important part of our ballclub. He has been a dominating pitcher and leader in this league for years and is probably pitching as good right now as he ever has.”
(HT: Talking Chop)