Sources close to both sides suggest that the retooling Seattle Mariners have come to terms with former Red Sox and Dodgers ace Derek Lowe. Lowe, coming off a 14 win season in the NL West, is notorious amongst fans of the Mariners for being involved in the Heathcliff Slocumb trade, generally regarded as one of the worst in the team's ignominious history.
Derek Lowe, pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Lowe had drawn interest from numerous other clubs, going so far as to sign a contract with the Atlanta Braves and appear in a press conference introducing him to the organization's fans. It came as a surprise to many, especially to Jack Zduriencik and his team in Mariners front office, that Lowe was still available.
"I thought [Lowe] was off the market, to be honest with you," Zduriencik said. "He'd signed that contract with Braves and everything. You can imagine our surprise when his agent contacted us. I guess that's just how they do things down in Atlanta these days."
The Mariners are hoping Derek Lowe helps to shore up a dicey staff which limped its way to a 4.73 ERA in pitcher-friendly Safeco Field, part of a teamwide Mariner collapse. The veteran will also make his presence known in the clubhouse; his years of experience in high pressure situations are expected to have a positive influence on the team's youngsters.
Lowe marks the second high-profile signing by the Mariners in the span of a few hours, joining the legendary Ken Griffey Junior as a new member of the squad. The two acquisitions help solidify what had hitherto been a quiet offseason for rookie general manager Zduriencik. Although the Mariners are not expected to compete in the strong American League West, Lowe and Griffey mark an important step on the path to national relevance once more.
When asked to comment on the situation, Atlanta GM Frank Wren said only, "I'm never ****ing working with that ***ing agent ever again. ****!" He has not returned calls since.
Agent Scott Boras has declined to issue a response. The terms of the deal remain undisclosed.