In the course of the past ten days or so, we have seen temperatures go from above normal for this time of year to below average for the same time period. It's quite strange- but one thing has stayed the same: the annual GM meetings are taking place. Yes, the Hot Stove is cooking, baby, and there's been plenty of speculating on what my team-the Braves- will be doing. Will they move Evan Gattis? Or, will they try to move either Justin Upton or Jason Heyward before their impending free-agency year? Time shall tell.
This time of year can also be difficult. Free agent signings and/or trades don't often work out how the team and its fans hope. One such free agent signing was Bruce Sutter.
The former Cub and Cardinal closer signed with the Braves on December 7th, 1984 for what was then a pretty hefty $4.8 million deal over six years (plus a report crapton deposited intoa deferred account) . In nine MLB seasons prior to the signing, Sutter had collected 260 saves and had placed in the top 5 for Cy Young voting in four of the previous six seasons (including his 1979 NL Cy Young award season). However, he had also had pitched in over 900 innings at that point, so there was a lot of mileage on his 31 year-old arm.
His first season in Atlanta saw his save total drop significantly, his ERA skyrocket and his shoulder in need of surgery. He would appear in only 16 games during the second season of the monstrous contract, leaving a lot of questions about his future. By the time the 1987 season began, Bruce had undergone his third shoulder surgery, this one would require him to miss the entire '87 season. Following his recovery, Sutter would pitch one more season in Atlanta (and final in the majors), appearing in 38 games while recording 14 saves- giving him a nice round number (300) for his Hall of Fame career.