Wren Q&A: Payroll’s ample to win; speed re-emphasized

Since becoming Braves general manager just over three years ago, Frank Wren has worked at a busy, sometimes frenetic pace, making trades, signing free agents and overseeing changes – some of them major – both on the field and in the front office.

The Braves ended a four-year postseason drought in 2010, but the injury-depleted team fell short of its goal to get venerable manager Bobby Cox back to the World Series in his final season before retirement. The Braves lost in the first round to San Francisco, and two days later Wren introduced Fredi Gonzalez as manager.

Wren gave Chipper Jones a three-year, $42 million extension, now counting on him to bounce back from knee surgery.

Wren gave Chipper Jones a three-year, $42 million extension, now counting on him to bounce back from knee surgery.

Wren also moved quickly this offseason to trade for slugging second baseman Dan Uggla, and the sides have been negotiating a long-term extension that would keep Uggla in Atlanta long after his free-agent eligibility next winter.

Wren, 52, took a break last week from his family’s scuba vacation in Cozumel, Mexico, for a phone question-and-answer session withthe  Journal-Constitution’s Braves beat writer, David O’Brien. Wren talked about his job, the state of the Braves, the team’s ownership situation and what’s ahead.

Q. What are you most pleased about since taking over as GM, in terms of what you and your staff set out to do and have been able to accomplish?

A. I think the most satisfying thing has been getting ourselves back in position to play in the postseason. No question. Because that’s ultimately what we’re all trying to do year-in and year-out. That was our goal; we got into the postseason. We didn’t get as far as we wanted to go, but got ourselves in position to at least be there.

Q. Are you pleased overall with how things have gone since you took over?

A. We got a little better each year and continue to build. One thing that gives us hope for consistency and ability to play at a high level is the quality of our farm system, the number of good young players we have and the quality of those players. That’s a tribute to our scouting department, to [scouting director] Tony DeMacio and Johnny Almaraz [director of international scouting], and to Kurt Kemp [director of player development]. Everybody’s pulling in the same direction and has a common goal, which makes what we’re trying to do easier as well as more gratifying for everyone.

Q. What areas do you still want to improve in – is there anything specific that you’d like to get done in the near or long term?

A new era began when Wren officially introduced Fredi Gonzalez as Braves manager in October, two days after iconic manager Bobby Cox's team lost in the division series.

A new era began when Wren officially introduced Fredi Gonzalez as Braves manager in October, two days after iconic manager Bobby Cox's team lost in the division series.

A. We’ve talked about — and it’s a hard thing to do — as we transition to a more athletic team, where speed and defense and those areas are so valuable in the overall scheme of things, the way the game’s played today. Transitioning more to that type of team as we go forward, while also maintaining our strong pitching base. Not to say you can’t have a very successful team without that [speed], but if there’s one attribute that plays so well in our game it’s speed.

In the last five or six years, there’s been a re-emphasis on speed. But speed without the presence of other skills really doesn’t do you a lot of good, either. That’s why those players are so rare. They’re hard to come by. That’s been a focus of Tony’s last year in the draft, and for Johnny as well. That’s hopefully the direction we’re headed more and more as we go forward. But it’s five or six years to turn that around, from the time you sign a player to when they become an impact player in the big leagues.

Q. What’s been the most challenging part of the job since you took over?

A. There’s day-to-day challenges. When you’re in this role you’re living and dying with every win, with every series. That’s probably the biggest challenge. The first year when we had all those injuries and we couldn’t even put a full pitching staff out on the field — that made it really tough to win games.

Q. Is it difficult working within the constraints of a mid-size payroll in a division with two high-payroll teams, the Phillies and Mets? Or is it something you just get accustomed to dealing with?

A. The one thing about it is, as long as you know what you have — and we have an ample payroll to win, there’s no question about that. We’ve seen all kinds of signs of that in recent times. San Francisco was marginally higher than us, and plenty of other [winning] clubs are in our payroll range. Texas and Tampa Bay were lower. You look at clubs that are well constructed, if you have young players coming up in your system – the only way any team can consistently compete, if it’s not in the really high payroll levels, is by having a strong farm system, where you’re continually bringing young players to the big leagues who can contribute to your team.

Q. Does the budget force you to be even more diligent, in terms of making astute draft picks and trades that don’t deplete the minor league system?

A. What you have to be diligent about is, you have to know your players better than anyone else knows them. You make sure you don’t trade those players who have a chance to be real productive, game-changing types. You’re going to make trades, but you just make sure you don’t give away players who are going to have a huge major league impact in the future. But sometimes players develop at a different pace, and you’re not going to see it — they come around and develop at a different time than you thought they would. We’re not going to stop being aggressive and making trades to get players to help us win.

John [Schuerholz, former Braves GM] and Bobby were so good and so consistent for so long, but that’s not the norm. That’s really hard to do, and every other club will tell you that — being in the postseaseon 14 years in a row just doesn’t happen. Our goal is to be consistent, year-in and year-out, but to do that you’re also going to have to keep developing players and getting players.

Q. What are you going to miss most about working with Bobby Cox, and what did you learn from working closely with him for nearly a decade?

A. We were together for 11 years. The thing about Bobby is that he’s so even keel. He never panics, never worries. If he does, he never lets you see it and doesn’t let his players see it. That stability was always reassuring. When you go down and visit with him, even if things were going rough, it never felt like it. You felt like we were just about to break loose.

Wren says he learned from being around Cox and seeing the effects of his even-keel approach and patience.

Wren says he learned from being around Cox and seeing the effects of his even-keel approach and patience.

[Baseball] is a game where failure can get you down, and Bobby was really good about staying above that. That was probably the steepest learning curve for me when I first got here, from being with John and being around Bobby — sometimes we were a little slow coming out of the gate, but there was no concern, no urgency. They knew that if the team continued to play and did things the way they always did, eventually we’d start playing well and be where we should be.

Q. How much interaction do you have with Braves ownership at Denver-based Liberty Media, or is it primarily [Braves CEO] Terry McGuirk who works with those guys and serves as a liason?

A. We all in the front office have interactions with them several times a year, whether we’re playing [the Rockies] in Denver, or they’ll come to Atlanta, or at our annual meetings. But primarily they have given us the ability to run this franchise, especially Terry, to put together the budget and basically just keep them informed. It’s an ideal situation for a baseball operation, to be able to make decisions internally.

Q. So it’s a good ownership situation, from your perspective? Because we often hear from fans who’d prefer to see a single and/or local owner, rather than some far-flung corporation.

A. It’s an outstanding situation. It’s never been a time that I know of where there was a [phone] call saying, ‘Why are you doing this or doing that?’ They’re confident in the leadership situation in Atlanta, to make decisions in those situations. I think [criticism of ownership] is misdirected — the budget is set internally, not by Liberty Media.

“There are a lot of teams with single owners who are local are doing exactly the same thing we’re doing, with a similar payroll. We get very high marks for how our franchise is run throughout baseball….

“The economics are really a function of our market size and the revenues that are coming in. It’s not because there’s an owner saying ‘You’re not going to do this.’ It’s just a function or our market. And like I said, I can reel off half a dozen other markets very similar to us that do have local owners, who are doing it the same way we’re doing it. So that’s a bit of a red herring when you always want to throw it on Liberty.

Q. Did Braves ever consider making a run at Zack Greinke? (The former Kansas City ace was traded to Milwaukee last week.)

Wren says Braves discussed possibility of a trade for Greinke, but decided the cost was too high.

Wren says Braves discussed possibility of a trade for Greinke, decided cost was too high.

A. His name was brought up. We talked about it. I just think it was going to be cost-prohibitive for us, because some of those players it would have taken to make that deal are players we’re going to be counting on in the next year or two, and we think they’re going to be premium talents at the major league level.

Q. Is it true that sometimes the best trade is the one you didn’t make? I’m thinking specifically of the proposed Jake Peavy deal that fell through a couple of years ago.

A. You go through the process of making a trade, and with every trade you try to go through the pluses and the minuses. Still, this game is so unpredictable. It’s not like any of us can really know when a player is going to get hurt or start declining in performance, and sometimes you’re looking at a deal and about to pull the trigger and it just doesn’t work out. And two years later, like in that deal, you’re fortunate you didn’t make it.

If we rolled back the clock, I don’t think we’d change our pursuit [of Peavy] or change our approach at the time. Fortunately for us we were able to do some other things and it worked out real well for us.

Q. What’s the greatest satisfaction you get from your job, and does it make the long hours and stress seem worth it?

A. The key is working with people you enjoy working with and that you trust. I have a couple of guys I work really closely with, [assistant GM] Bruce Manno and John Coppolella [Braves director of baseball administration]. They are as focused and dedicated to it as I am. Then you have those major league scouts, the Jim Fregosi’s and Dom Chiti’s you can call at any hour… It’s a grind, a long grind. But if you have an organization that has everybody on the same page and good people to work with, it makes it all worthwhile. Especially when you win.

63 comments Add your comment

me

December 23rd, 2010
4:18 pm

Arcadio

December 23rd, 2010
4:19 pm

Wren has been very active during his tenure as a GM. For the most part, his work has enabled to Braves to get better each year and I think we are on the right track. Unfortunately, there are a couple of contracts (Kawakami, McLouth) that are still lingering and have prevented the Braves to acquire a good outfielder with power.

Chris from the Rock

December 23rd, 2010
4:22 pm

Now sign Lastings Milledge Frank.

notion

December 23rd, 2010
4:42 pm

wren go get upton for tampa he is fast

WV Braves Fan

December 23rd, 2010
4:46 pm

Good post, David. The days are getting longer. Pitcher & catchers will be reporting before we know it.

bruce

December 23rd, 2010
4:51 pm

Thanks Dave for getting the insights and perspective. Always helpful. Thanks for a great year. Bruce

WV Braves Fan

December 23rd, 2010
4:54 pm

That should be “Pitchers & catchers.”

Chall

December 23rd, 2010
5:04 pm

I completely agree with Chris. Sign Lastings Milledge.

STRETCH

December 23rd, 2010
5:12 pm

Ok, Milledge or Upton..GO GET EM!

Skeef

December 23rd, 2010
5:29 pm

Ok, can we please let the Lasting Miliedge idea go…he is not that good..really, he’s not

Mutts

December 23rd, 2010
5:33 pm

Frank Wren has done a very good job since taking over as GM. In a little over 3 years The Braves have become a playoff contender again. I agree with many that a good fielding outfielder – preferably center field – with the potential to get on base and steal 30+ bases would go a long way to strengthening this team. If we could get B.J. Upton, without giving away too much that would be great.

29tigerboys

December 23rd, 2010
6:55 pm

I think Wren’s doing a pretty good job…but don’t lie and tell me the budget is set internally. I don’t see him getting an outfielder before McOUT and Shafer prove once again that they’re not the men for the job. After that happens, we’ll see what he does.

NORRIS

December 23rd, 2010
7:20 pm

LOOKS LIKE WE ARE GOING TO LET PODSEDNIK GET AWAY.
I HAVE NOT SEEN WHERE WE HAVE PICKED UP ANY SPEED???
WE STILL HAVE NO OUTFIELD?? PRADO GOES TO THIRD AND THEN WHAT?

NORRIS

December 23rd, 2010
7:21 pm

LASTINGS MILLEDGE? The guy is horrible!

Earl

December 23rd, 2010
7:30 pm

I still think Ellsbury may become available before spring training. The BoSox continue to looks at Outfielders, which really leads me to believe that they may eventually shop Ellsbury. I would love to see a trade happen here, as long as the Sox don’t want the farm. To me, Ellsbury would be an ideal fit in Atlanta.

CF Ellsbury
LF Prado
3B Chipper (if healthy, if not move prado there and Mclouth in LF)
2B Uggla
RF Hayward
C McCann
1B Freeman
SS Gonzalez

I would really like to see what this lineup could do.

Mitchell

December 23rd, 2010
8:20 pm

The Braves ended a four-year postseason drought in 2010, but the injury-depleted team fell short of its goal to get venerable manager Bobby Cox back to the World Series in his final season before retirement.

Wrong. The team didn’t lose to the Giants because they were injury-depleted. They lost because of their venerable manager, Bobby Cox.

They should and would have won the series but didn’t because he totally freaking blew it for the 14th and final time in his post-season career (not including the Blue Jays… of course, he blew that too).

Despite their best and most inspired efforts in years, he flushed the whole thing down the crapper by leaving Brooks in to play the 9th inning of Game 3 and by replacing his de facto closer for yet another ill-conceived lefty-lefty match-up that again back-fired right in our face.

Then he leaves Derek Lowe in one batter two long and a few bad calls later and the Giants escape defeat in Game 4.

Enough with the glossing over the truth. I don’t care that he’s retired. The Braves deserved better than what they got. They had the Giants beat and Bobby got in the way.

Let’s get our de facts straight from now on.

NORRIS

December 23rd, 2010
8:23 pm

really dont know why they didnt bring in diory to play D after Brooks was stinking it up. For that matter Hinske could have been at third and Infante at second. There is no excuse for leaving Brooks in that game.

David O'Brien

December 23rd, 2010
8:49 pm

The Braves ended a four-year postseason drought in 2010, but the injury-depleted team fell short of its goal to get venerable manager Bobby Cox back to the World Series in his final season before retirement.Me

Wrong. The team didn’t lose to the Giants because they were injury-depleted. They lost because of their venerable manager, Bobby Cox. — Mitchell

Me: Mitchell, Mitchell. If you insist on always playing the part of the character you enjoy playing on this blog, at least try to work on understanding sentence structure before you embarrass yourself by picking apart something I wrote.

Show me in the sentence that I wrote where it says the Braves lost solely or even primarily because of injuries. You can’t, because it doesn’t. Yet you stated that I wrote they lost because of injuries, and spent the next several paragraphs explaning why you thought they lost, then added your little line at the end about “get your de facts straight from now on.” (Did you actually mean to write it that way, “get your de facts straight”?)

I stated only that the team was injury-depleted (which it was; or do you want to argue that point?) and that it lost to San Francisco. Period. (I do happen to think the injuries played a big part in the loss, but that’s beside the point here, because I didn’t write that.)

Feel free to go on at length 2-1/2 months after the fact as to why you think the Braves lost the division series, because I’m sure plenty of people are interested in reading your analysis at this late date. But you don’t need to twist something I said in order to use it as your springboard.

Lewis Grizzard's Ghost

December 23rd, 2010
10:06 pm

I couldn’t have responded to Mitchell any better myself Reverend O’Brien … Keep preaching and I’ll keep the rest of the flock up here straight.

peter nincompoop

December 23rd, 2010
11:18 pm

Longest response I think I’ve ever seen from DOB. Dude must have really gotten under your skin.

Bob the Blogger

December 23rd, 2010
11:19 pm

I think that Frank Wren has done an excellent job at GM. He has been decisive and shrewd in his trading, skillful at selecting his staff, and doing it all within a modest budget. I particularly like his vision of a more athletic team, with a lot of speed and defense to augment the good pitching, which he values.

We have a challenge in competing with the Phillies and their payroll, but I think we have the right GM for the job.

Roll Tide!!

December 23rd, 2010
11:30 pm

Thank you DOB for putting that guy in line. People like him make me not want to scroll down the page to read and participate in the comments section of the blog. You do a great job and I practically FIEND for your (of CR’s) next entry. Go Braves!!

Feeanch

December 23rd, 2010
11:36 pm

Atta boy DOB! Priceless…

johnr

December 24th, 2010
12:28 am

Way to go DOB. Just wish mitchell knew something about baseball

Vain Jangling

December 24th, 2010
12:40 am

Other than first base, third base, and centerfield, I’m feeling pretty good about the Braves. In other words, not so much. But I’ll take Uggla over Cliff Lee any day. Otherwise, I’m still confused that you left Widespread Panic’s Dirty Side Down off your “best of” CD list. Tell me you’ve at least listened to it.

double

December 24th, 2010
2:23 am

Speed and less ERRORS.Lots of games the error total is highest.

hop

December 24th, 2010
3:29 am

money is still a problem since the braves never go after the superstar except by trade.yes, giants did win,but that is rare.the bostons and yankees dominate the world series .

let’s hope that a competitive owner will come forward and take over the braves.

tbhawksfan

December 24th, 2010
6:28 am

Mitchell is everything that is wrong with America….yeah right. Way off base DOB and posse. Your “injury depleted” statement was the only casual allusion made for the teams performance short-comings. You made your statement, why can’t Mitchell argure your POV? Why can’t he propose another “reason” for coming up short?

“Me: Mitchell, Mitchell. If you insist on always playing the part of the character you enjoy playing on this blog, at least try to work on understanding sentence structure before you embarrass yourself by picking apart something I wrote.”

Sentence structure is the weakest (non) argument in the book.

“Show me in the sentence that I wrote where it says the Braves lost solely or even primarily because of injuries. You can’t, because it doesn’t. Yet you stated that I wrote they lost because of injuries, and spent the next several paragraphs explaning why you thought they lost, then added your little line at the end about “get your de facts straight from now on.” (Did you actually mean to write it that way, “get your de facts straight”?)”

He didn’t state what you say he stated. but, you did write “injury depleted” and it was your only casual reference.

“Feel free to go on at length 2-1/2 months after the fact as to why you think the Braves lost the division series, because I’m sure plenty of people are interested in reading your analysis at this late date. But you don’t need to twist something I said in order to use it as your springboard.”

Is he not free to “go on at length” about why the Braves lost? Seems he’s doing exactly what is expected on a Braves blog. People are free to read his analysis just the same as yours.

Seems like vainity driven peer-preasure censorship to me.

Chris

December 24th, 2010
7:31 am

No, you’re wrong as well. Look at the statement made. No opinion was made as to why the Braves didn’t make the World Series, just that they did.

Even on Christmas Eve, the idiots come out to play.

Canton4Prado

December 24th, 2010
7:46 am

CHRIS FROM THE ROCK………Go back under your rock and take Lastings Milledge with you……..he is a cancer in a locker room.

MikeyBaseball

December 24th, 2010
8:28 am

With all due respect for the great Bobby Cox… Just why didn’t Bobby have Diory in there instead of Brooks all along? Wasn’t Diory’s place on the team suposed to be the back up infielder? That would have left Brooks where we needed him and where he performed the greatest all year… PH off the bench! Diory was actually hitting fairly well when he did get the chance. Diory rightly deserved to play, over Bobby’s latest favorite pet. This will still be bugging me in another 2 1/2 months from now.

Smells Like Captain D's

December 24th, 2010
9:26 am

Wren wants more team speed?

Well, Mets Fans in Hell want some ice water, but that doesn’t mean they’ll get their collective wish, either.

ryan

December 24th, 2010
9:27 am

What about Matt Kemp he has speed and power Milledge would be good as well i just hope the Braves do something with Cliff Lee back in the NL east .

Braves Fan

December 24th, 2010
9:32 am

Bobby Cox insistence on playing his favorites (Brooks Conrad and Nate Mclouth) is what killed us. I loved Bobby but I’m glad he’s gone. I haven’t played baseball since high school but I am certain I am better than either of these guys. Please get rid of both.

Old Gold

December 24th, 2010
9:52 am

Ditch Chipper!

bvillebaron

December 24th, 2010
9:59 am

Braves Fan:

You haven’t played baseball since high school, but you are sure that you are better than Conrad and McLouth. That’s it, you win the prize for the most idiotic post of the year.

AndyA

December 24th, 2010
10:02 am

Wow, so this blog has devolved into a debate about sentence structure and what we think we are arguing about? The team lost because it wasn’t the better team during that 5 game series at that time last year. Wren obviously knows the weaknesses as well as anyone, and he’s trying to address them this off-season.

The interesting part to me is how the payroll is determined internally. So, if I’m to believe him, the Braves are trying to obtain a certain profit margin and have figured out where their sweet spot is as far as payroll goes. If Braves fans want a better team (read higher payroll, even though that does not always correlate with a better performing team, i.e. Cubs), they should go to the park more often to support the team. This would change the “reality” that Wren and the Braves operate under, meaning they could compete with higher market teams for the most expensive free agents. That will not happen in Atlanta. Alternatively, they could raise prices at the park, but that would probably just depress attendance and not have the desired effect. So, we are left with the “reality” that Atlanta is a mid-market baseball city. The Turner years were an aberration, unless someone can figure out how to make money on the huge regional/national following that watches on TV or listens on the radio, since that fan base doesn’t spend money at the park like the Yankees/Red Sox/Phillies fan base that sells out almost every game. Most likely, Braves fans can only hope that good management (as they have had for the better part of two decades) continues to produce competitive teams that can compete with the large markets on a consistent basis. I, for one, will enjoy watching one of the best managed organizations in baseball and hating the large market teams for their advantages.

Tommy Boggs

December 24th, 2010
10:19 am

The Braves have an improved team and we just need a solid back-up third baseman (Wes Helms).
Chipper will be 39 and cannot be counted on for more then 120 games. When he is not in the line up they need a good glove at 3rd to take his place. Moving Prado in from the outfield should not be the plan. This team is going to score alot of runs and Fredi Gonzalez is going to do a great job. Also look for Heyward to have a big year; and Freeman to win ROY. First spring game is 2 months from Sunday against the Mutts. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Mutts

December 24th, 2010
11:41 am

Post-Steroids Era, baseball is returning to its “good pitching over good hitting most of the time” roots. Seveeral teams in The National League are in a position to take adavantage of this in 2011: The Braves, The Giants, and The Phils, to name the most pitching-rich. A dominant pitching staff usually will win when its team can score at least 5 runs on average per game. Thus, The Giants were World Champions with a less than dominating offense, and The Braves, with the addition of Uggla, should be in a better position to score runs. I agree with many that speed will become more important to The Braves (and most teams), so if we could find a way to add an outfielder who gets on base and can steal 30+ bases that would be great. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone!

David O'Brien

December 24th, 2010
12:57 pm

AndyA: Very good points made in your 10:02 a.m. comment.

Chief pitchanono

December 24th, 2010
3:36 pm

The comments on Liberty are surprising. Guess their not the Grinches who stole atlanta baseball afterall, if you believe Mr. Wren. It does make since though, baseball is a buisness and i’m sure they expect to make a certain amount and then whats left over is whats left over. I mean it would be different if the ted was soldout every night, but we all know its not. That also gives us hope though, because attendance could improve if the Braves stay healthy and can prove that they are a playoff contender for a few years in a row. I think this is a different town now than it was in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, when we were winning and nobody was showing up. I think if they can keep building on what they have done over the last two years they will get more people down at the Ted and maybe more payroll. Either way though he’s done a good job of rebuilding this team from what we were 4 or five years ago and we have really turned the page from the Glavine, Smoltz, Maddux pitching era, which was really hard to do. He’s totally rebuilt the pitching staff for now and for the future, and now it looks like he has finally been able to add enough offense to go with his talented young pitchers to consistently get back to the postseason year after year. If this team stays healthy and gets anything at all offensively out of Chipper, Mclouth and Freeman they are gonna be really good.

Sid

December 24th, 2010
6:33 pm

Wren reemphasized speed, the only signing was Uggla and Hinkse I didn’t think they were that fast. Come on Wren when your going to pee on us don’t tell us its rainwater.

Earl

December 24th, 2010
9:36 pm

Good blog, DOB. I still think we’re short a hitter though.

cdubb4201

December 24th, 2010
11:26 pm

F-ing A, ANdy A! I couldn’t have said it myself. I’m so tired of Atlanta fans moaning about payroll, when in the very next sentence they will mention never attending a game. I live in SC, yet still have managed to make at LEAST one game a year ever since the move to Turner Field. I think Wren and the whole managment team has done a great job in fielding a competive team (at least on paper… and before injuries) each year, especially with the payroll “limitations” compared to other teams in the NL east.
On a side note, am I the only one who thinks that Schafer might be primed for a comeback this year? Last reports stated that his swing was pain free again, couple that with a nothing to lose outlook and you have a dangerous player on your hands..

Jasmine

December 25th, 2010
7:12 pm

Merry Christmas everyone! I think someone else mentioned this, but how about Scott Podsednik? Not only does he fill cf spot, but we have a leadoff hitter.

Jasmine

December 25th, 2010
7:13 pm

Enter your comments here

Jimbo Jones

December 25th, 2010
8:19 pm

If Chipper gets hurt, we’re going to need a left fielder. If Prado gets hurt, we’re going to need a left fielder. In other words, we’re probably going to need a left fielder at some point.

Why don’t we sign a CF with, what was that Wren was talking about? Oh yeah, speed. Someone who can lead off and run down some balls in deep center. Then McClouth/Schaefer could come off the bench or fill in if LF becomes vacant.

The fact of the matter seems to be that between McClouth, Schaefer and Young, Wren and Co. seem to think one of these guys will produce, and if not they can deal with it mid-season, if need be. It’s not like a poorly performing McClouth for half a season would necessarily kill our playoff chances, of course. Still, I would like to go into the season with four solid MLB outfielders on the roster, assuming you count Prado and the McClouth/Schaefer/Young combo as two of the four. This doesn’t seem to be in the cards, though.

Things could still be a lot worse.

MPIMENTEL

December 26th, 2010
7:34 am

hey frank this should don´t be over yet…man we really really need another outfield guy…and if he came with production will be great, remember something, we have nate in cf, heywad in his 2nd season (usually the rookies have a rougth 2nd season), and a guy who just have his best season playind in 2nd base and now we put him in the outfiel, who told ud that he wont need a period just to adjust himself to a new roll, ……..WE NEED ANOTHER OUTFIELD PLAYER BUT PLEASE SOMETIHNG MORE TAHN A MELKY LIKE PLAYER…

JoeFan

December 26th, 2010
10:41 am

There are 3 contracts holding the Braves back from investing in player upgrades. C. Jones, McLouth and Lowe. Until Wren gets out from the burden of these contracts the Braves will continue to be a team that trys to be competitive within these constraints. The Braves are 2 years away from sheding these contracts and by then maybe the farm system will fill a few holes without going outside for help. Lets hope going forward that Wren / Braves draft smartly, trade wisely and invest soundly in quality free agents.

GarynpOH

December 26th, 2010
11:13 am

what would be wrong with waiting until spring training to see if Schaefer, Mclouth or one of the other speedsters recently signed step up before we give up prospects. if one of them do, then we can maybe fill a hole that develops later in the year i.e. Chipper injury

GarynpOH

December 26th, 2010
11:14 am

ummm i think my sentence structure was poor, sorry.

Mike McDonald

December 26th, 2010
11:57 am

Speedy Gonzalez must be the source of the fleet-footed-ness that Wren is peddling and O’Brien seems to be swallowing whole.

Does anyone believe that Uggla is going to sign for $60 million for five years after watching the current free agent marketplace escalate? Is his silence not deafening and ominous?

The ultimate act of stupidity may have been to trade Braves’ last year’s MVP, Infante, for a player who may not sign a low ball, long term deal. What were they thinking and why have the Braves treated Omar so disdainfully and shabbily over the years that he performed at such a very high level?

For several years, the Braves have had glaring holes in LF, CF and 1B. (And we still do). Prado, Yunel and Infante were the three reliable, bright lights in the infield amid the above chaos. So Wren dumps low salaried Yunel and Infante thus dramatically degrading the team’s efficiency, versatility and effectiveness, while ignoring the original glaring holes in the line-up

At this rate, the speed that Wren professes to deliver in 2011 may well turn out to be the rapid descent of the Braves in the NL standings.

rick p

December 26th, 2010
1:57 pm

“Does anyone believe that Uggla is going to sign for $60 million for five years after watching the current free agent marketplace escalate?”

Victor Martinez did, and Id assume Atlanta is a more desirable destination than Detroit for MLB player

So Cal Brave

December 26th, 2010
2:37 pm

@ Mike McDonald:
Infante is going to be a free agent at the end of next year, so we traded one year of Infante for one year of Uggla. Yunel stopped playing for us, the Braves had no choice but to trade him when he still had some value. If Wren wanted to just get rid of him, he would have traded him before the season started when his value was at his highest.
Uggla is not going to get Werth or Crawford type money because he’s not a, so-called, 5 tool player like they are. 5 yrs 60 mil is very appealing to him because not many clubs will want to give him that 5th year.
Quit your whinning. The sky is not falling.

Mike McDonald

December 26th, 2010
6:07 pm

@So Cal Brave:

You’re rebuttal, albeit incomplete, was well thought out and reasonable. Time will tell if Wren’s fixing what didn’t need fixing and not fixing what did, will work in 2011. Pray, tell me where is all the sudden burst of speed that Wren foresees? Perhaps coming from Chipper or Brian Mac or Freddi Freeman or the rehabbing Prado or slo-mo Gonzo?

In the meantime, if you are hell-bent in getting into snarky, personal commentary, learn to spell correctly. Winning has two letter ns, whining has only one.

space monkey

December 27th, 2010
7:34 am

Speed? No one on this team has speed. Reyes has speed. Victorino has speed. Rollins has speed. Ramirez has speed. Would anyone bet on a single Brave against any of these guys in a 90-foot race?

Bigbrave

December 27th, 2010
10:45 am

Good one space monkey. Pretty sad when the braves have to use pitcher Tim Hudson as a speedy pinch runner because they don’t have any one else on the bench that can run.

Bigbrave

December 27th, 2010
10:48 am

Bring back Neon Deion, Ron Gant and Otis Nixon! Even in retirement they are faster than anyone we have now.

Kat

December 27th, 2010
6:44 pm

Just got around to reading this Q&A after traveling a lot for the holidays, nice post. Is it February yet?

SoCalBrave

December 27th, 2010
9:57 pm

@ Mike McDonald:
Thanks for the grammar lesson (is it ironic to whine about mispelling whining?). Sorry if I sounded snarky with my remarks, but it is very frustrating when people cry about things that they don’t understand or don’ even bother to research. Yunel was my favorite player last year and to say that Wren just dumped him for no reason is just asinine.
I do agree with you about not seeing where the speed is coming from, even in the minors. But then again, speed with talent is hard to come by.

atl fan

December 28th, 2010
3:54 am

Frank sure is correct when he says how hard it is to find a fast guy that can do other things. It takes a lot of talent to hit with a good OBP.

AthensBrave

December 31st, 2010
9:51 pm

Mike McDonald is right on! One of the few insightful posts among the of the back biting. His comments that I repeat below say it all. Why concentrate on musical chairs at 3rd, short, and 2nd when what was needed was most glaring at 1st, CF, and LF. Hopefully the rookie can play 1st, but that leaves CF and LF when Prado goes to 3rd after Chipper does his swan dive. Love Chipper but he isn’t the answer at 3rd anymore.

The ultimate act of stupidity may have been to trade Braves’ last year’s MVP, Infante, for a player who may not sign a low ball, long term deal. What were they thinking and why have the Braves treated Omar so disdainfully and shabbily over the years that he performed at such a very high level?

For several years, the Braves have had glaring holes in LF, CF and 1B. (And we still do). Prado, Yunel and Infante were the three reliable, bright lights in the infield amid the above chaos. So Wren dumps low salaried Yunel and Infante thus dramatically degrading the team’s efficiency, versatility and effectiveness, while ignoring the original glaring holes in the line-up

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