Wren clarifies comment about defensive errors

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Braves general manager Frank Wren raised some eyebrows with this comment Saturday to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “At the end of the day, I don’t think errors contribute a great deal to losses.”

It was in response to a question about defensive concerns with the Braves, who made 126 errors last season, one shy of the National League high.  They have since added Dan Uggla, whose 34 errors in 2009-2010 were tops among major league second baseman.

Wren sought Tuesday to “finish his thought” on the subject of defense.

“We think we are better in a couple positions for sure, that being first base [with Freddie Freeman], which will in turn make our infielders better with the additional saves he will make on errant throws and his play in general, and in left field with Martin Prado.

“We should be better in center field with Nate [McLouth] full-time versus the different faces we used there last year, though [Rick] Ankiel was very good at the end.

Wren continued, “We do believe Dan Uggla is better than his critics allege and I tend to rely on the evaluation of his manager and bench coach from last year [Fredi Gonzalez and Carlos Tosca, who are now with the Braves in those same roles] that watched him everyday.

“Good teams do not give their opponent extra outs, period. My point that was not completely stated was this: we don’t believe our defense will be a liability and should be better than last year. We are going to make errors, but that won’t be the overriding reason for our success or failure ultimately.”

73 comments Add your comment

jjschiller

February 22nd, 2011
6:14 pm

Good, I guess..

GT Alum

February 22nd, 2011
6:16 pm

Good to hear Wren clarify that statement. I understood the point he was trying to make, but I think it came across more as who cares about defense more so than defense is just one piece of the puzzle.

Honest

February 22nd, 2011
6:24 pm

The Braves will lead the NL East in errors this year. Bank on it.

They will still win a lot of games though, thanks to pitching and timely hitting.

HTF

February 22nd, 2011
6:25 pm

Poor Frank having do adjust his statement to dumb it down for our idiotic fans.

LD

February 22nd, 2011
6:31 pm

Of course, Derrek Lee played the last 1/4 of the season at 1B and it’s hard to believe that Freeman will be an improvement over that, and even with Lee in the lineup, we struggled defensively.

McLouth in CF is somewhat underwhelming…

balla1881

February 22nd, 2011
6:31 pm

maxfrankel.com
We’re starting our own blog. DOB you have inspired me and I one day hope to take your job, as you will be working for a national company (espn will be calling any day now given how good the reporting is). Anyway, We’re doing 30 teams in 30 days. Let me know what you guys think, any suggestions or (constructive) criticism.

choozer

February 22nd, 2011
6:32 pm

Lost in all that is the fact that Gonzalez will be putting more emphasis on defense, more defensive drills during practice, than during the Cox era.

scottbravesfan

February 22nd, 2011
7:15 pm

Errors are overrated. It’s not the best stat to judge a player on because there are other factors playing into how many errors a player makes. Uggla is not a good second baseman on D though but he’s also not nearly as bad as people make him out to be.

Billy Jack's Barbecue & Shrimp Co

February 22nd, 2011
7:16 pm

Welcome to the blog Mr. Wren. Cool that he reads it.

Crooks Bonrad

February 22nd, 2011
7:19 pm

Awwwww. Shucks.

vermont 39

February 22nd, 2011
7:21 pm

Ankiel was a defensive gem…no one ran on him…too bad he never found his stroke…oddly enough his hits albeit a few were incredibly timely…I hope he has a good year somewhere.

big o

February 22nd, 2011
7:23 pm

That beeping noise you are hearing is Frank Wren backing up !!!! DOB I still would like to know if stats are kept as to how many errors were fielding vs how many were throwing. As I mentioned I;m thinking the Braves had a ton of throwing miscues

ramblingman

February 22nd, 2011
7:55 pm

Typical. Wren makes an innocent comment and gets fried for it by non-fans. He goes out of his way to explain what he meant and gets fried for that by non-fans.

Go Braves

OldTimer

February 22nd, 2011
8:21 pm

He who makes the fewest errors wins.

Browncoat

February 22nd, 2011
8:35 pm

I watched the Braves turnaround in 1991, and it was mainly because of better defense. Wren needs to shut up.

Nate D

February 22nd, 2011
8:46 pm

Mike Minor and Freddie Freeman are going to beast for us.

Dawgdad (The Original)

February 22nd, 2011
9:02 pm

As some one who brought us Loaf (Garrett Anderson) and Melky Cabrera, I think Mr Wren’s orginal statement may have validity. He probably doesn’t view defensive ability as much as he should. Pitching and defense win baseball games over the long haul.

Coach (2011 Fredi G.a Go!)

February 22nd, 2011
9:02 pm

Wren pulls his foot out of his mouth, then proceeds to limp around in a circle while talking the same way.

Anybody want to know what team had the best defensive unit was in the NL last season?

The Phillies.

That said, the 2010 Braves won 91 games if which 25 were last at bat wins. This won’t happen in 2011 simply because Cox won’t be around to provide the inspiration.

So the 2010 team was a wild card contender that slipped into the post season on the last day. This 2011 unit won’t be so lucky.

Billy Jack's Barbecue & Shrimp Co

February 22nd, 2011
9:08 pm

I want to clarify what I said earlier (w/o being critical of Wren). I think he read the blog and then clarified his statement.

Sure defense is important, as well is pitching, but you have to set priorities and work within a budget and be realistic about what is available both on the free market and within your farm system.

That said, he did a masterful job, IMHO, patching together our team last year despite the injuries, money available, etc.

richbrave

February 22nd, 2011
9:09 pm

Does anyone know what CW-45 broadcasting is?

Ekim

February 22nd, 2011
9:23 pm

“So the 2010 team was a wild card contender that slipped into the post season on the last day. This 2011 unit won’t be so lucky.”

Thanks for calling it for everyone. Now I don’t have to go to all the trouble of watching the darn games.

GL

February 22nd, 2011
10:06 pm

The greatest weakness in the defense is teams know McOut won’t throw so they are going to run on him at will.

curtis jones

February 22nd, 2011
10:18 pm

I’m still waiting on McLouth to show why he won a Gold Glove with the Pirates a few years back. With the Braves, his defense has been atrocious. Sure he can run down a fly ball occasionally, but he also misjudges anything over his head, has absolutely no arm, and teams run on him constantly. Plus you can guarantee any time he’s in Heyward’s zip code, he will stop short. He doesn’t want to run into him, ever again.

Biff Pocoroba

February 22nd, 2011
10:19 pm

Put me in coach!!!!!

reckingball

February 22nd, 2011
10:19 pm

How many errors did Uggla make, and what was his fielding %age, in home games at the Stadium To Be Named Later, last year?
How many errors did Uggla make, and what was his fileding %age, in away games, last year?

SportsRadio PD

February 22nd, 2011
10:20 pm

Coach (2011 Fredi G.a Go!) the 2010 Braves won 91 games if (of) which 25 were last at bat wins. This won’t happen in 2011 simply because Cox won’t be around to provide the inspiration.

So the 2010 team was a wild card contender that slipped into the post season on the last day. This 2011 unit won’t be so lucky.

ditto w/exception of inspiration part; lack of defense & no Wagner or anyone like him will be this years problems. Maybe the long ball from Uggla, McCann and Hayward will make-up the difference. Here’s hoping, Go Braves!

reckingball

February 22nd, 2011
10:22 pm

@9:02…….”Cox won’t be around to provide the inspiration”?????
Are you kidding?

Chop Chop

February 22nd, 2011
10:23 pm

Well, if a guy hits enough, he makes up for what he gives away. In a perfect world, you have players who hit and field well. The Braves don’t have a bunch of guys like that, so they need to hit to make up for their defensive imperfections. If Uggla posts a .260/20/75 line and plays crummy D, he won’t be worth it. After all, he’s not being paid to be a power-hitting second baseman. He’s being paid to hit like a slugger.

reckingball

February 22nd, 2011
10:24 pm

Braves win the East in 2011.

Paul in Richmond

February 22nd, 2011
10:40 pm

Add Wren’s comments to the Fredi goal of “making the playoffs” (instead of “winning the world series”) and these little things begin to worry me that we don’t have the killer instinct.

DerekZ

February 22nd, 2011
10:51 pm

If the Bravos improve their defense it will give them a better opportunity to get DOUBLE PITS TO CHESTY with it.

Buzz Capra had nasty stuff

February 22nd, 2011
11:01 pm

The d will be improved this year, I think. The big question mark is who will play left field? If Schafer comes back, you have to figure he’ll be in center, and you certainly can’t put McWhiff in lf due to the fact that his arm is Deion-esque and he’s reluctant to throw, to boot. While we would have speed to burn with him in left, the throws from that corner would be problematic. On the plus side, third base will improve dramatically defensively and batting average-wise when Chip goes on the dl, which is just a matter of time, and Martin takes over for good.

Dubious

February 22nd, 2011
11:31 pm

It is a good thing for a GM to defend his players. It is a bad thing when such defense requires the GM to yammer nonsensically as our GM did previously about the lack of importance. of defense. Hitting is a great thing but good pitching and DEFENSE are what lead to championships..

CmonFrank

February 22nd, 2011
11:44 pm

Who does Frank think he’s kidding? There is absolutely no evidence to suggest the Braves will be any better defensively than last year. None. If the Braves are to improve, it will be from more power, more speed and fewer injuries.

SportsRadio PD

February 22nd, 2011
11:53 pm

GET PODSEDNICK, we need the speed and average ! (is he still unsigned)?

David O'Brien

February 22nd, 2011
11:59 pm

Who does Frank think he’s kidding? There is absolutely no evidence to suggest the Braves will be any better defensively than last year. None. — CmonFrank

Evidence? What kind of “evidence” would there be? I agree with him that the Braves will be better defensively at 1B with Freeman and in LF with Prado. No doubt in my mind. As for Uggla, he won’t be as good as Prado was there, but he won’t be any worse than Kelly J. was before Prado took over.

So, yes, you could say there’s reason to believe the defense could be better than last season. Remains to be seen, but that’s not an outlandish suggestion, by any means.

rooster

February 23rd, 2011
12:04 am

As I recall, the Braves made the second-most errors in the NL in ‘10. If they’d made just the league average, they might have won the division. So, yeah, I’d say defensive errors were significant.

Freddie G

February 23rd, 2011
12:22 am

Freeman at 1st and a rookie seems the best defensive player on the infield. We know Chipper is good for 30 errors and may be more depending on how many games he play, Gonzo is good for 20 and if you add 20 for Uggla and 10 for Freeman that is 80. With McCann, Heyward, Nate and Prado playing a new position there could be another 40. Therefore Frank is correct there will be an improvement over last year.

Freddie G

February 23rd, 2011
12:45 am

The defense should improve over last year, but the improvement will not be significant. Lets hope the offense will pick up with more production from, RF, CF,LF and 2nd. I don’t know what to expect from Chipper but if he can play 110 games, we hope the production from 3rd will exceed that of last year. I expect that the run production from 1st will be below last year. In summary a 4% improvement in errors made and more run production over last year.

DerekZ

February 23rd, 2011
12:47 am

Chipper has only committed 30 errors once (2009). If he plays 130 plus games, I’ll take that from him. It means he’s in the line-up where he can get Double Pits To Chesty with it.

balla1881

February 23rd, 2011
1:05 am

We know Chipper is good for 30 errors and may be more depending on how many games he play, Gonzo is good for 20 and if you add 20 for Uggla and 10 for Freeman that is 80. With McCann, Heyward, Nate and Prado playing a new position there could be another 40. Freddie G

This is just dumb. Chipper committed 30 errors once. He had 10 last year over 86 GS. And for the course of his career has averaged 13.83/year. Adam Dunn had 13 errors last year and was considered a major defensive liabilty (So much so that he signed on to be a DH at the age of 31). Gonzo is good for 20-thats the nature of shortstop. But for Heyward, Center Field (I expect it to be more schafer than McSucks), McCann and Prado to commit 40 errors is a bit high. Heyward had 6 + CF with probably 5 + Prado with 8 at tops + McCann who has averaged 10/year. So add those together and you get 30. So by my calculations your estimations suck. Look at some stats before you rattle things off like this. This team is more than capable defensively and I think with some improved emphasis on infield defense from the new manager, we’re going to see a fundamentally sound team on the field every day.

Michael Procton

February 23rd, 2011
2:40 am

Ha…Uggla is worse than Prado, but as good as Johnson? Really? Please. Prado has the range of a statue at 2B. Is it REALLY better to watch a ball two steps away bounce by you than to make an error trying to get to it?

Conyers Braves Fan

February 23rd, 2011
4:28 am

Wren had to come back with something after his previous statements about how unimportant defense is to success.
I still believe that good defense is very important. Case in point, the Braves could have won the playoff series against the Giants had it not been for terrible defense.

JASon

February 23rd, 2011
5:54 am

Frank Wren, you are a businessman. A man who has gotten where he is at by understanding your audience, being sensitive to them, and building their trust. You know exactly what you said, and how it came off. The problem for you is, we are all familiar with this song and dance, and don’t have the mental fortitude to go through it again. You are non-competitive in this league because you develop your team as a series of interchangeable parts, as opposed to developing a culture that can compete when it matters. Fundamentals? You don’t have the patience for that: these players are professionals, they don’t need coaching, right? Which brings us back to your original statement.

You cannot take it back now.

David O'Brien

February 23rd, 2011
6:50 am

Frank Wren, you are a businessman. A man who has gotten where he is at by understanding your audience, being sensitive to them, and building their trust. You know exactly what you said, and how it came off. The problem for you is, we are all familiar with this song and dance, and don’t have the mental fortitude to go through it again. — JASon

You do realize Wren signed a two-year contract extension the very day this original story came out, right?

curtis jones

February 23rd, 2011
7:20 am

Well you’re right about that. Chipper doesn’t make many errors. You don’t get charged with many errors when you’re riding the pine.

ramblingman

February 23rd, 2011
8:20 am

It would be nice if those who come here merely to bash the Braves would slink away and leave the site to actual fans.

If you do nothing but badmouth the team, you are not a fan. Period.

Go Braves.

ChillyMutt

February 23rd, 2011
8:30 am

… I guess Mr Wren wasn’t watching McLouth play defense last year. Nate looked awful.

Crooks Bonrad

February 23rd, 2011
8:54 am

“DOB – So, yes, you could say there’s reason to believe the defense could be better than last season. Remains to be seen, but that’s not an outlandish suggestion, by any means.”

I’ll do my best. Promise. Really.

PS: Any truths to those rumors of the NL going with designated hitters?

Kashi

February 23rd, 2011
9:07 am

Falcons want open air stadium, Do we want retractable closed roof new stadium to win world series?

O'flarity's water bottle

February 23rd, 2011
9:52 am

Kashi

February 23rd, 2011
9:07 am
Falcons want open air stadium, Do we want retractable closed roof new stadium to win world series.

Lets just hope so……

O'flarity's water bottle

February 23rd, 2011
9:54 am

DOB, the problem is someone on this blog said that the defense would get better for dan uggla since freddie is here. Gee freddie was dans old coach, so how is uggla going to get better?

O'flarity's water bottle

February 23rd, 2011
9:55 am

Is freddie going to sprinkle defense dust on uggla?

O'flarity's water bottle

February 23rd, 2011
9:57 am

Brooks Conrad should be a pinch hitter only.

O'flarity's water bottle

February 23rd, 2011
9:57 am

Anybody there? Ground control to major tom?

ramblingman

February 23rd, 2011
10:08 am

(considers posting just to break up water bottle’s string, then decides against it)

n

February 23rd, 2011
10:19 am

WOW. Too bad as most teams now value defense more then ever. If the Braves did along with the pitching they have, just think how good they could be.

Live From Wherever!!

February 23rd, 2011
11:48 am

Prado better in left? Perhaps. Chipper wasn’t better in left than a can of spam when he played there. It’s not like because a guy can play all positions he’s going to shine in the OF. No guarantee that Prado will play any better than Diaz did out there. Uggla is a defensive downgrade at second. Late last season, D. Lee was great at first. Freeman will be very good as well but not an upgrade.

CF? Has everyone forgotten last season when McLouth was in Center how bad he looked at times? Remember the bad jumps? The balls he didn’t get to? Remember holding the ball and not making throws? McClouth is a definite downgrade defensively than Ankiel.

And after all…. this conversation is about defense, not offense.

I’m glad Wren clarified. It just confirmed he is either trying to sell something that isn’t there or he is completely deluded about what this team will do defensively.

ConradBlows

February 23rd, 2011
11:49 am

If Brooks Conrad steps on the field, we are a weaker team…Bottom Line!

ramblingman

February 23rd, 2011
11:54 am

Live from wherever – why is it that you say the statement “X will be better than Y” is uncertain and no guarantee, yet you make the statements “A will be worse than B” as if they are written in stone?

bvillebaron

February 23rd, 2011
12:42 pm

Browncoat:

And here I thought all along that the Braves’ turnaround in 1991 was because the pitching came around. Thanks for setting me straight that it’s okay to have 8 guys in the field who hit .250 or less as long as they can play defense.

Kurt

February 23rd, 2011
1:54 pm

Remember folks, the Braves started winning in 1991 after they 1) hired Ed Mangan to smooth out the cow pasture and rock bed that was Fulton County Stadium and 2) signed players who could catch the ball, particularly corner infield (Bream and Pendleton) and up the middle defense (Belliard and Nixon). None of those guys were what you would call professional hitters (although Pendleton did win a batting title), but they did hit a little bit and didn’t give the opposing team any extra outs. We didn’t win then because of anything but pitching and SOLID defense.

ramblingman

February 23rd, 2011
2:14 pm

Yes, the 1991 team won by emphasizing defense and pitching. Teams can win with pitching, or teams can win with pitching and defense or teams can win with pitching and offense.

Teams can even win with pitching and some offense and some defense.

How about another sixteen hours of back and forth on the subject?

JBD

February 23rd, 2011
4:36 pm

Wren referred to errors not overall defense. I would think he still places a value on defense but he uses a different metric to judge it. I think a better marker of defense is range, the ability to take away normal hits and making plays an average player would not. How many hits did Andruw Jones take away during his hey day. If he dove for 15 balls in a season and they tipped off his glove and they gave him an error, he is still a plus defender because the territitory he covered and the amount of hits he took away. Im not saying that errors have no bearing on defense because in general they come on standard plays but I agree with Wren that you just cant equate errors with defensive success.

ramblingman

February 23rd, 2011
5:07 pm

JBD…shhhhh, you can’t come up with logic and expect that to work.

;-)

IHEARTCARROLL

February 23rd, 2011
5:28 pm

I don’t know if all 34 errors Uggla committed resulted in runs. But I am positive that all 33 homers did.

Alex Morrison

February 23rd, 2011
10:45 pm

It’s amazing how fans think they could do a better job managing than the guy that’s done nothing but study the game as a full time job for his entire life. Obviously our team has improved since FW got the job and obviously Uggla adds value to the team.

bulldogbyrd

February 24th, 2011
9:14 am

As the season doesn’t start until March 31….why dont we just watch and see how the Braves defense fares before we criticize players and GM’s moves….LET THE PLAYERS PLAY….I think we will all be quite surprised with how well 2011 is going to turn out!

Phoenix Falcon

February 24th, 2011
11:16 am

he did not clairfy anything, he said the same thing……..defense wins games

Phoenix Falcon

February 24th, 2011
11:18 am

@Alex Morrison

think about this….. for every homerun Uggla hits, he comits an error, explain to me how that makes you a better team then you were last year?

Phoenix Falcon

February 24th, 2011
11:26 am

@JBD
no offense, but that asanine, that’s like saying you can’t equate being drunk to drinking beer. these things go hand in hand, how many errors you make, goes to show how good/bad you are on defense, this is not brain surgery. you and FW should run for office, or at least write the speeches for the people running for office, you two would have the general public dazed and confused in no time.

JBD

February 24th, 2011
2:01 pm

There is alot more to defense than errors. What if Uggla works hard and know how to really play the position. What I mean by that he is always in the right spot as a cut off man, he always executes the bunt defense correctly, sinking in with the pitchers on pickoffs, or being able to shift slightly knowing the hitters and what pitched is called. There is just 5 ways Uggla can impact a game defensively with no physical aspect. He may screw up more routine plays than the 2nd baseman we have had in the past but what if he makes up for 10 bases because he is in the right position always. That doesn’t show up in the stat book but he imporived your defensive by 10 bases. By accounts from the coaches he turns double plays exceptionally well. What if we turn 5 double plays we did not last year and thats 5 innings that were ended we could of gave up runs. My point is errors really measure your physical consistancy when you touch the ball. It does not take in effect your mental grasp for your position, ability to adjust to a gameplan, hitters and the pitch thrown, and your range as a fielder.

JBD

February 24th, 2011
2:09 pm

I’m not saying Uggla is going to win a gold glove but lets see what he has to offer before we throw him under the bus for one stat. I think this is why Fredi defends him as a defender. He can erase some of those errors with sharp play in other ways defesively that there are no stats for and thats not even considering the home runs.

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