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Smoltz, Braves differ on contract offer

Smoltz, Braves differ on contract offer

ATLANTA -- Some members of the Braves' organization believe their offer to John Smoltz was comparable to the one made by the Red Sox. But the veteran hurler saw things differently.

Lured by a guaranteed $5.5 million contract that includes incentives that could increase his 2009 earnings to $10 million, Smoltz is set to sign with the Red Sox and say goodbye to the Braves, who had employed him since acquiring from the Tigers in 1987.

Attempting to provide some clarity on Thursday afternoon, Smoltz issued a statement through his agents at Career Sports & Entertainment.

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"I was going to withhold comment until the announcement of my signing with a new team, but I now feel the need to clear up any misconceptions and inaccuracies about the contract negotiations between myself and the Atlanta Braves," Smoltz said.

"There were large discrepancies between the offer from the Braves and offers from other teams."

Sources from both sides have verified the guaranteed portion of the offer provided by the Braves was anywhere from $2-2.5 million.

While Braves sources have said their incentive package could have allowed maximized earnings greater than Boston's offer, Smoltz is of a different opinion. He has told his former teammates that he likely wouldn't have made more than $7 million if he'd chosen to stay in Atlanta.

"I have always loved the city of Atlanta, and it will always be my home," Smoltz said in the statement. "I will cherish my 21 years with Bobby Cox and all my Braves teammates. I continue to wish the Atlanta Braves nothing but success in the future."

In a last-ditch effort to prevent Smoltz from going through with his plan to sign with the Red Sox, manager Bobby Cox called the 41-year-old pitcher on Thursday morning.

But Smoltz, who had been with the Braves dating back to his 1988 Major League debut, told Cox that he wasn't going to change his decision.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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