Scott Boras and Derek Lowe met with the Braves yesterday, who apparently made Lowe an offer in the wake of John Smoltz leaving for Boston. Terms of the offer haven't been disclosed, though in the same article we learn that Boras has claimed there to be no three-year, $36 million offer on the table from the Mets. This contradicts several published reports that have indicated otherwise, so either those reports were all wrong or Boras is merely carrying on in one of his customary games of subterfuge.
We haven't heard a peep out of the Mets since their (alleged) original offer, and for good reason. Until now, there was literally no competition for Lowe's services, despite whispers from various circles about the Phillies' and Red Sox' purported interest. Can the Braves really have offered a deal in excess of $12 million a year? I wouldn't have thought so, but if they really have made an offer, and the Mets really have made their reported offer, then I can't imagine the Braves stepping up to the table with anything less than 3/$36. What would be the point of offering less, unless they thought Lowe preferred Atlanta over all other comers, and there have been no indications to this point that he does.
We'll assume that the Braves have offered at least the same $12 million per for the same three years as the Mets. I think the Mets would be willing to outbid any similar offer, though they are attuned to the subtle but important distinction between outbidding and overbidding. Lowe originally wanted five years and $16 million per year, but his market value is looking more like three years and $14 million, and I suspect the Mets could go at least that high. Whether they like Lowe enough (and enough more than Oliver Perez) to guarantee a fourth year or more money annually is still to be determined. At all events, I think we'd all just like to see this get wrapped up sooner rather than later so we can drop one variable from the Mets' offseason equation.