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But Smoltz could be the biggest splash for a team that lost out in pursuit of Teixeira. The rival Yankees spent $423.5 million on contracts for Teixeira, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett after missing the playoffs last season.
"They spent a lot of money," said Francona, who joked near the end of the season that the Yankees would spend $1 billion in the offseason. "I was like half right. They spent a lot of money and they got a lot of good players and it doesn't make our job easier. But we've gone toe-to-toe with them really well.
"Our division is a monster. We beat up on each other and we will continue to do that. And our job didn't get easier but that doesn't mean we can't win."
The only pitcher in baseball history with 200 wins and 150 saves, Smoltz is coming off major shoulder surgery that sidelined him for most of last season, but feels healthy enough to pitch at least one more year.
Smoltz, 41, who prefers to finish his career as a starter, would join a rotation that already includes Daisuke Matsuzaka (18-3), Jon Lester (16-6), Josh Beckett (12-10) and Penny. The Red Sox also have Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz for the rotation if Smoltz or Penny aren't ready at the start of the season.
A minor leaguer when he was acquired from Detroit in 1987 for Doyle Alexander, Smoltz was the cornerstone of Braves teams that won a record 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005, including a World Series championship in '95.
"I have always loved the city of Atlanta, and it will always be my home," Smoltz said in his statement. "I will cherish my 21 years with (manager) Bobby Cox and all my Braves' teammates. I continue to wish the Atlanta Braves nothing but success in the future."
Braves general manager Frank Wren declined comment when reached by e-mail.
Smoltz won 24 games and the NL Cy Young Award in 1996, but elbow problems led him to shift to the bullpen to relieve the stress on his arm. He set an NL record with 55 saves in his first full season as a closer in 2002.
After three years finishing games, Smoltz went 47-26 in his second run as a starter. But shoulder pain cut short his 2008 season after only six appearances.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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