Wren Q and A Part II: Talking McCann, Prado, Bourn and more

Braves general manager Frank Wren sat down with selected members of the media following the end of the Braves season, discussing topics ranging from the September collapse to roster projections. In Part II of that interview, Wren talks about Brian McCann’s late-season troubles, the prospects of signing Michael Bourn long-term and Freddie Freeman’s breakout season, among other things.

Here are excerpts from the remainder of that interview. (Part I is available at ajc.com/braves)

Q. How much did injuries play a role, like in the case of Brian McCann?

A. It’s clear Brian was not the same hitter after the injury. It’s something we’ve never seen with Brian in five years, so it’s hard for me to say. I do know you’re talking about a guy that works hard and cares more than anyone on this team and is as responsible as anyone on this team, and he couldn’t pull himself out of the struggles, and we couldn’t help him pull out of the struggles. He took more extra batting practice and spent more time watching video and comparing good swings to bad swings than anyone you could imagine and just couldn’t reverse. I think when the pressure mounts as it did in September that can be debilitating, and I think we saw that with a lot of hitters.

Q. Did you see swings that looked like he was trying to protect his oblique?

A. I think Brian took a lot of swings that looked normal and he took some swings that didn’t look so normal to me. But I don’t know that that was based on the oblique or whether he was protecting it. But I think it was very tough for him to get his timing back after that.

Q. Do you look at Martin Prado’s season as an aberration?

A. This was a tough year for him, and I think it’s hard to really evaluate what that staph infection meant to him. In a lot of ways to me it’s similar to what happened with McCann after the oblique. They were not quite the same…I’m not a doctor so I don’t know physiologically what exactly (the staph infection) means but we saw a different Martin.

Q. Do you think moving to left field had a negative effect on him at the plate?

A. It shouldn’t affect him. Let’s put it that way.

Q. Will he be back in left field?

A. I think the likelihood (is good). We’re still a couple weeks away from having our real planning meeting where we look exactly what we think the club will look like.

Q. Would you hesitate to move him to a third position in three years?

A. We’re not there. We’re not to the point where we’ve had any discussions like that.

Q. Do you go into next season in a similar position with Chipper Jones, knowing he’s your third baseman but you can’t play him every day?

A. It’s probably exacerbated a little more because we know with his knee situation it’s going to be hard for him to play seven days in a row. That’s just the reality. We’ve got to take care of him to keep him healthy for the long haul. We also saw that when he got a roll this year, he was a pretty dynamic player. It’s probably unrealistic for us to expect that all the time, but he gave us a lot of good games at third base and a lot of big hits throughout the season.

Q. How much of the September collapse was a result of the ripple effect of losing Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson to injuries?

A. It’s hard for me to pin it on the pitching because we had 17 games in September when we gave up four runs or less. So that doesn’t indicate to me that the pitching was a problem.

Q. How concerned are you about Hanson’s shoulder?

A. Based on the information we have right now, not very. It’s just going to take some time. None of the doctors have come back with any structural damage, and so it’s one of those things where we were trying to ramp him up and see if we could get him ready to pitch at some point in the postseason if we made the postseason, and he couldn’t get going that quickly.

Q. Do you go into the winter looking to improve bullpen depth?

A. Not really because I felt like Cristhian Martinez was a guy that really came on. I thought Anthony Varvaro really did well…So we feel like we have some internal choices, and it also depends on what happens with Kris Medlen and what role he’s in because he really can do a variety of things and be very valuable.

Q. What do you tell Medlen about his role heading into the winter?

A. He could do so many things. The great thing was getting him back and getting him into major league games and competing again, because it sends him off with the confidence that he knows he’s back, and we know he’s back. And whether he’s a starter or a reliever – I don’t know the answer to that right now – but he can do either.

Q. Do you try to sign Michael Bourn to a contract extension this offseason?

A. I don’t know the answer to that. He’s an arbitration eligible player that we’ll go through the process. If those discussions come up during that process , we’ll explore it. We like Michael a lot. We like what he brings to the team. We like the infusion of speed.

Q. Nice to get what you did out of Freddie Freeman?

A. He had just a terrific breakout year. He laid a great foundation in Triple-A a year ago and showed what kind of hitter he could be and he carried it through. He has a great approach. He has a good swing, I think he uses the whole feel very well and that makes him a dangerous hitter. For a lot of people the knock was would he have enough power. I don’t think anybody is going to question that any more. As he grows and learns, he has plenty of power.

Q. Now you have to hope he doesn’t endure the sophomore slump?

A. No one is immune to it, that’s for sure, but I think his swing is one that allows for pretty consistent play.

263 comments Add your comment

LuisG - Julio Franco for hitting coach!

October 3rd, 2011
1:20 pm

JackDennis

October 3rd, 2011
1:22 pm

Good stuff, DOB.

@bosoque

October 3rd, 2011
1:23 pm

I feel for Wren. He put the pieces together, but something just isn’t right. This team should have been great, but it just didn’t work. Maybe something will present itself this offseason, but there isn’t a lot on the FA market that the Braves need.

Braves11

October 3rd, 2011
1:27 pm

1st. My concern is ss and rf. I read where Reyes might be an option at SS,but would the Braves spend that kind of money? I still think Heyward bounces back,but do you put all your hopes in that?

Braves11

October 3rd, 2011
1:28 pm

GOMETS

October 3rd, 2011
1:33 pm

this team neeeds lots o work but got good pieces

Braves11

October 3rd, 2011
1:34 pm

Any idea who might be the hitting coach? Here is a thought Don Baylor.

GOMETS

October 3rd, 2011
1:35 pm

was nate healthy at the end and just wasnt activated or was still hurt

MaSSaHH

October 3rd, 2011
1:37 pm

the difference between Joe Maddon and Fruity is that Maddon is man enough to start a rookie with 1 major league start in game 1 of the playoffs with Fruity going with over-the-hill Low(s)er… and we all know the outcome, thank you for ruining our season, Fruity guy.

bruce

October 3rd, 2011
1:40 pm

Thanks Carroll

Kentavo

October 3rd, 2011
1:43 pm

First!
I’ve never done that.

Kentavo

October 3rd, 2011
1:44 pm

Ok, not 1st.

vietnamviet

October 3rd, 2011
1:45 pm

Interesting comments by the GM in that he talks about Brian McCann injuries and the possible impact they had on his late-season troubles. However, he did not give the second year player (JH) the same break or consideration.

Tech Rules

October 3rd, 2011
1:52 pm

vietnamviet,

Heyward’s issue this year appear to be more of “there’s a scouting report on him now” than “he’s playing hurt”.

dozer

October 3rd, 2011
1:52 pm

Looks like its settled – between injuries & Larry Parrish we figured out what went wrong. problem solved – gotta tip my cap to the Braves braintrust.

Kirk

October 3rd, 2011
1:53 pm

Thanks Carroll, you seem to ask the right questions.

southern hope

October 3rd, 2011
1:55 pm

thanks DOB…I’m mourning both the end of baseball season *and* the end of your game-day blogs.

On the positive side, I would *love* to see the Cardinals wipe the Phillys out in the first round.

Klaus

October 3rd, 2011
1:59 pm

Good questions Carol. It doesn’t look like Wren is jumping the gun on Bourne. He likes Bourne but I think after the Uggla scare (extend and tank) Wren will think twice about extending someone too soon.

He needs to see where he ends up in Arb and then see how much of a factor he is in 1H2012.

With Bourne the Braves were a .500 team so he didn’t change fortunes that much. Some of that is b/c the team stinks at situational hitting. They don’t know how to use speed strategically so approaches will need to change properly leverage Bourne. He doesn’t work on a team holding out for the 3run homer.

Boras being Bourne’s agent will also factor in though more on the money side versus personalities. Wren has no issue dealing with Boras but Bourne could look too expensive and they may just let him walk.

I don’t like the Prado in LF idea. He is a human book mark waiting for Chipper to finally break down for good or retire. Those are not qualifications for a LFer. The team needs a slugging LF who can drive in runs (not just with HRs) and offset a light hitting CF and a ?mark in RF.

Prado is not that guy by a long shot.

I think they will have to trade him unless they can get Chipper to retire earlier or defer his 2012 salary. The only role I see for Prado is a 3B platoon and a super utility back up gig.

Fols

October 3rd, 2011
1:59 pm

I think there was some meaning behind Wren’s comment there on Freddie’s swing.

When you look at Heyward and Freeman standing at the plate waiting for a pitch…they are night and day apart. Freeman stands in there, solid, in control, you just see the steady consistant attack. Heyward should work on that same approach. He’s got his knees all bent up, he’s rocking away, stands off the plate…..he just looks so dangly and small up there and the guy is a beast.

Someone needs to straighten him up.

McFann O O o

October 3rd, 2011
2:06 pm

vietnamviet Interesting comments by the GM in that he talks about Brian McCann injuries and the possible impact they had on his late-season troubles. However, he did not give the second year player (JH) the same break or consideration.

BMac’s got a good-sized track record as being a very productive player…Heyward, as you said, was only in his second year. But I do think injuries played some kinda roll in Heyward’s performance as well, at least at some point…

NS in Kennesaw

October 3rd, 2011
2:08 pm

I’m wondering about conditioning of the Bravo players in the off season. I mean,

(1) Is this something the like of GM or Mgr will tell each individual that they are expected be in tip top shape reportin to Spring break?
(2) Is there some mandatory off season conditioning they have to do?

I know it is a long season of 162 games and the Bravo played 168 (due to extract innings). But the Bravos looked “out of gas” toward the last 10-15 games. On the other hand, every other teams also played the same amount of games but they did not look as flat as the Bravos during the same period.

DOB and other fan, any comments please.

GO BRAVES !!!

NS in Kennesaw

October 3rd, 2011
2:09 pm

correction “extra innings” not “extract innings”

polskidawg

October 3rd, 2011
2:12 pm

Good interview.

I wonder if the Braves (and Chipper) would consider switching Chipper (LF) and Prado (3B)? Neither would be an All-Star, but should be adequate defensively. It also seems to me that LF would be less of a pounding on Chipper’s knees – soft grass versus infield dirt, less diving, etc.

Of course, that’s only if Chipper’s knees can handle the quick start and stop movements.

In my opinion, they need to sign Bourn, trade Lowe to the AL for a lower A prospect, and trade JJ to the AL for 2 or 3 good OF/3B prospects.

Larry30

October 3rd, 2011
2:25 pm

Mandatory off season conditioning for these guys? I’m rolling on the floor laughing.

Gordon

October 3rd, 2011
2:26 pm

The reason Wren didn’t mention Heyward was because he wasn’t asked.

[...] Series. Atlanta GM Frank Wren looked ahead to the offseason in a Q&A with reporters, including Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The [...]

Piedmont Blues

October 3rd, 2011
2:33 pm

Nicely done, CR.

wjones

October 3rd, 2011
2:35 pm

“polskidawg

October 3rd, 2011
2:12 pm

Good interview.

I wonder if the Braves (and Chipper) would consider switching Chipper (LF) and Prado (3B)? Neither would be an All-Star, but should be adequate defensively. It also seems to me that LF would be less of a pounding on Chipper’s knees – soft grass versus infield dirt, less diving, etc.

Of course, that’s only if Chipper’s knees can handle the quick start and stop movements.

In my opinion, they need to sign Bourn, trade Lowe to the AL for a lower A prospect, and trade JJ to the AL for 2 or 3 good OF/3B prospects.”

FYI, Chipper agreed to move to LF in 2002 to accomodate the team when they wanted to pursue, for whatever reason, Vinny Castilla. He spent two plus years out there, and that’s where the body breakdown started, particularly his feet. So the chances of him agreeing to move to the outfield are basically nonexistent.

Piedmont Blues

October 3rd, 2011
2:37 pm

I think the position swaps that need to be considered (for 2013 if not 2012) is Prado back to 2B and Uggla to 3B (or LF and acquire another 3B). The Braves infielders have about as much mobility as statues. Sure, they don’t make errors, but they don’t get to anything, either. That’s a problem when your three top innings eaters (Hudson, Lowe, Jurrjens) pitch to contact. We can only hope that Pastornicky has Furcal’s range. Otherwise, the Braves again will give up a lot of hits that would be outs for other teams.

VinceVanGo

October 3rd, 2011
2:38 pm

I think the Braves are set at only 4 positions for the short term future, first(Freeman), second(Uggla), short(Pastornicky, and the pitching staff(tremendous depth). Chipper’s hopefully gone after one more year(please) but I don’t think that Prado is the answer there nor in left. Bourn’s probably gone after next year, and who knows what the real Jason Heyward is like. So they may need a complete makeover in the outfield as well as a third baseman. Then there’s the catcher position. I know McCann’s young but I’m afraid he may have seen his better days. Catcher is a tough position and extremely so for a pudgy person who seems to wear down quicker than a muscular person. I think now(this winter) before he shows that he’s on a downward slide next year the Braves ought to shop him to an A.L. team for a designated hitter and get a boatload of prospects for him while his worth is very high. Get rid of Lowe, trade J.J. this winter for prospects before he hits F.A. after next year, and then trade Hanson the next winter for prospects before he hits F.A. If you have any questions Frank get my email address from Dave O’Brien.

Larry30

October 3rd, 2011
2:38 pm

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen someone on this blog or the blogs on the braves’ website say “trade lowe.” he will be in a braves uniform until the last dime of that contract is finally paid for. Wren would trade him for a dozen baseballs if the other team would take him and assume all of the contract.

Klaus

October 3rd, 2011
2:39 pm

I agree the Braves looked flat and it could be conditioning and likely is to a degree.

That said baseball players need a stoic player to rally them when the pressure mounts. They need a guy who will put the team on his back at crunch time and they lack that player.

They have streaky offensive players, esp the Vets, who just don’t instill that sense of fire or stability.

This team played not to lose (versus to win) from manager on down (for all of September). The confidence was low and that was not a great complement to being a bit tuckered (which is a poor excuse).

The Braves need their “go to guy”, the calm in the storm or better yet the storm in the calm to get them past what has now become a predictable funk.

They won’t say it publicly but I think they expected to fail or at least feared it. When their fears started to come true it snowballed.

Put it another way, they lack the killer instinct, swagger etc needed to not be happy with a 8.5 game lead in a WC or division. The need to be unsatisfied with coasting into the playoffs – burning up a cushion versus adding to it.

All the hat tipping was for teams that play 100% on every swing, every catch, pitch and every inning. Relentless is the word that best describes those winning teams.

The Braves need to become a relentless team. If they do the wins will come and the funks will fade away.

That is why Wren needs to drop the conservative model of building teams, not OD on pitching and get some players (more than one – solo adds do little) with fire and the stats the back it up.

Until them tweaking and fiddling will only yield more fades and uninspiring baseball when teams should be at their best.

Larry30

October 3rd, 2011
2:41 pm

Another makeover for the braves outfield? This has been an annual exercise since the end of the 2005 season. What happened to Ryan church?

Truth

October 3rd, 2011
2:43 pm

Q. Now you have to hope he doesn’t endure the sophomore slump?

A. No one is immune to it, that’s for sure, but I think his swing is one that allows for pretty consistent play.

I think this says a lot about Wren’s lack of confidence (which I share) that Heyward will figure it out. Seems he doesn’t believe a sophomore slump is the problem, but rather a fundamentally flawed swing. I see Heyward spending some time back in the minors next season.

kimbrel rocks

October 3rd, 2011
2:43 pm

can we please drop the REYES TALK. he is not coming to atl. and we should be grateful.

Larry30

October 3rd, 2011
2:45 pm

As soon as you hear a team concede the division in august when they are down by single digits then you know you are dealing with losers, plain and simple. If the cardinals had the same attitude about the wild card that the braves had about the division, they would be heading out to their deer stands about now.

Pogo

October 3rd, 2011
2:46 pm

Prado is a utility player at best. To count on him as an everyday player at any position is the the same insane policy which led to the debacle of the last month. He could not hit in the two spot, yet we continued night after night to run him out there. His lack of hustle the last two weeks was terrible. Package him with a pitcher while he still has some value and get somthing in return that can actually help this team.

Juan

October 3rd, 2011
2:48 pm

Klaus: “With Bourne the Braves were a .500 team so he didn’t change fortunes that much”

Where you been in the North Pole?….Did you miss the 2011 Season?
SHHHH.

Larry30

October 3rd, 2011
2:52 pm

Bourne is the first center fielder we have had since andruw left town. If there hadn’t been some kind of personal baloney going on we might still have Francouer playing in right field. When the braves start caring more about winning than having a “professional demeanor” we might see some passion coming out of this bunch. And that problem starts right at the top with the sel proclaimed genius, schuerholz.

Scott from Fairburn

October 3rd, 2011
2:54 pm

Really fascinating stuff from DOB … especially if you parse it out …

Wren on Chipper: It’s probably exacerbated a little more because we know with his knee situation it’s going to be hard for him to play seven days in a row. That’s just the reality. We’ve got to take care of him to keep him healthy for the long haul.

I did a quick check on consecutive games played by Chipper during the season. After playing 21 games (62 ABs) in spring training, he opened the season by playing 9 consecutive games, followed by runs of 13, 9, and 10 games.

Wren on pitching: It’s hard for me to pen it on the pitching because we had 17 games in September when we gave up four runs or less. So that doesn’t indicate to me that the pitching was a problem.

Although I couldn’t find the quote, Gonzalez was quoted in a recent DOB post about looking for pitching in the off-season.

Finally, Gonzalez announces all coaches back, Wren says not.

I would like to have a microphone in on the upcoming meetings …

kwajbraves

October 3rd, 2011
3:01 pm

The only tipping that I want to see next year is tipping that Chick-A-Fill cow in left field. I had enough with the cap tipping stuff.

RemoW

October 3rd, 2011
3:03 pm

I like Wren’s outlook on the pitching. The kids that came up and filled in did not sink us. Although they did work the a well used bullpen. But 17 games of 4 runs or less? I would love to see the win / loss on those 17 games. Any offense at all and we should win half of those 17 easy.

I like Wren and how he is looking at this team. He seems to be a realist and is not making excuses.

RemoW

October 3rd, 2011
3:05 pm

Larry30: You did watch all those Braves AB by Francouer waived weakly at pitch after pitch and refused coaching? Also the part of him turning down a long term contract offer?

The Red

October 3rd, 2011
3:10 pm

Remember, Bobby Cox hired John Schuerholz. This year was about a transition from the Cox/Schuerholz Braves to the Wren/Gonzales Braves. I read the Wren comments as them being ready to make that transition. Almost a “Now we’re going to do it MY way” gauntlet drop. I saw Fredi deal with Hanley Ramirez last year and feel he can put his own stamp on this club when the time comes, and I think it’s now.

Jbailz

October 3rd, 2011
3:13 pm

Everyone that is talking about Francouer needs to remember that we weren’t playing with 2011 Francouer we were playing with a guy that showed up whaled at some pitches low and out (much like A-Gon this year without the spectacular Defense) and acted like we should all bow down cuz he hit like 12 HR’s all year.

Frenchy’s days as a Brave are over and the move to KC was the best thing that ever happened to him and Melky. We need to look in a different direction for our future.

jim

October 3rd, 2011
3:14 pm

Agree with much of what VinceVanGo has posted.
I think he Braves whould look to trade McCann and Prado this offseason for reasons stipulated. I would like to keep Bourn, but if they aren’t going to sign him, who has higher value? They need to prepare for the first post-Chipper year — 2013 and have a more patient, contact hitting team in place that can build runs. I would not try to trade JJ or Hanson until they demonstrate they are healthy and can bring a better return. I don’t know if Uggla is movable, but I would not mind seeing him traded also. We need a consistent hitter, not 235 with 36 HRs and only about 80 RBIs. As he gets older those numbers are not likely to improve very much. It is WAY too soon to give up on Heyward. I think the Uptons are a better comparison than Francouer when talking about Heyward. It took them a while to develop, but their upside now is much higher than JF’s. (BTW — the shortstop in 2013 might be Simmons, not Pastornicky)

jim

October 3rd, 2011
3:24 pm

I would like t see a comparison between games started by Schafer and games started by Bourn. I know there were other factors at play in determining how the team fard in those games, but the stats I would like to see for those games would be:
1. Runs scored/game between the two
2. SB success rate/game (SB/ATTEMPTS * GAMES AS BRAVE STARTER)
3. Team winning percentage

Schafer wasthe target of a lot of abuse on this blog, but he scored a lot of runs when he was on the team and had an attitude that had a positive effect on the play of the team that was sorely lacking during the final month of the season.

Klaus

October 3rd, 2011
3:29 pm

Juan -

The Braves record from when Bourne came over to the last day of the season was .500. They were an above .500 team before he came here so he did not push them over the edge. I specified why that was the case.

Read it again before rolling eyes. Geeeesh back.

Heyward gets on base now

October 3rd, 2011
3:32 pm

Sign Bourn, don’t give up on Heyward. Deal Lowe. Keep Prado, but if he and Heyward don’t produce this year bag em.

Get rid of JJ. Three years in a row he gets hurt and misses just about all of the second half.

Get rid of Gonzo. He played defense well all year and was clutch at the plate in September, but he gave us no run production. Give Pastrami a chance at SS.

Uggla is fine, Mac is fine.

Get some help in the bullpen. We need one more quality arm at least.

Start exploring options at third. I think 2012 will be Chipper’s final year.

Jbailz

October 3rd, 2011
3:32 pm

I’m against trading Uggla, he hit 235 at the end of the year after pressing cuz of a big contract. I’m really excited to see him play next year and he’s a hard nosed hustler. I’d take 9 of him any day on my team. Also let’s remember it’s not his fault that most of his HR’s are solo shots because we can’t play station to station baseball in front of our biggest long ball threat.

If we play baseball all year like we did the first inning of game 162 (Bourn leads off and steals second, Prado moves him and Chipper sac’s him in) we are playing in the playoffs right now instead of hanging at Chipper’s ranch.

Brian Asselstine

October 3rd, 2011
3:35 pm

If Bourn and Constanza are at top of order, they will make playofs. Speed never slumps. If overhyped J-Hey has to play, they will struggle.

Brian Asselstine

October 3rd, 2011
3:37 pm

Bourn is 10 times the player Schafer was. The final game he had 3 hits and a walk. You dont sign that guy, you are crazy!

Sutton's Fro

October 3rd, 2011
3:44 pm

There should be one answer to the (2) questions about Prado and Chipper: send Prado to the bench! Neither one is an everyday player, but can still make valuable contributions. With Prado, Ross, Conrad, Diaz, and possibly Hinske and Pastornicky, we could have the best bench in the league!

Ron Roberts

October 3rd, 2011
3:45 pm

Salasry-wise, it would seem we shed $13.2 million by not picking up McLouth’s option and losing Linebrink and Sherrill.

With OF and SS as glaring needs, I’d prefer we get a Raul Ibanez-type LF and put Prado at SS because finding a power-hitting SS is harder than a power-hitting LF. Beltran or DeJesus, maybe Josh Willingham would be suitable, wouldn’t they?

I like Alex Gonzalez’ glove, but his streaky bat drove me nuts. Dude knocked 20 HRs before he got here at the All-Star break last season and never put together a stretch like that again with us.

Man, if we could ONLY convince Lowe to retire, we’d have the flexibility to be MAJOR free-agent players. Truth be told, we don’t have major holes outside of LF and SS; our rotation’s still deep, with or without Jair and/or Hanson. Huddy, Minor, Medlen, Beachy, Delgado and Jair/Hanson give us plenty of starting options and our bullpen is fine – when not burned out early in the season. Got to get the younger starters to go longer and prevent that. Having C. Martinez step up late in the season should mean we see more of him and less of “O’Ventbrel,” so that’s a plus.

Sophomore slumpin’ Heyward gets himself right, McCann comes back to form and Prado gets himself right, add the LF pop we need and I think we’re as well-rounded a tam as there’ll be in the majors.

what of it?

October 3rd, 2011
3:45 pm

we’ve taken 4 years to find a decent center fielder and Wren isn’t sure if we should sign him long term?

Klaus

October 3rd, 2011
3:52 pm

I think everyone not named FF, Hudson, Beachy, Kimbrel, Venters, Bourne, Delgado, Teheran and maybe Uggla could be traded or asked if they would approve a trade (Chipper). Mac is a long shot to be moved but you never know. I think Wren’s eyes have been opened and he is under some real pressure from up top.

Two seasons of September fades the second one with a better team than 2010 is not how you want to start the first year of a new 3 yr deal. He is too far away from the JS mess to say the team i

Francona was let go over a comparable fade and Epstein is looking at the Cubs gig. That is not going unnoticed in Colorado or in ATL.

bravesfan54

October 3rd, 2011
4:01 pm

Six or seven years ago Eric Hinske was a full-time 3b for a couple of seasons and did quite well at that position – as a recall about 10 errors over the course of 140 some games. He did well offensively that year. Is he an option at third?

RPollardRealtor

October 3rd, 2011
4:06 pm

Great questions DOB. We have to sign Bourn to an extentension! Get on it FW!!! Next few years FW is going to look like a genius with all the young studs we have on our team. This was a very young team and it showed at the end. Lets build on this experience and ride it into next year baby! Lets Go Braves!

RPollardRealtor

October 3rd, 2011
4:12 pm

@Klaus,

First Francona wasn’t let go, it as a mutual split. Francoana felt he lost the team early in August. The players on that Sox club’s personalities are way over the top. The only player I feel we have on our team with that personality is Derek Lowe. He thinks he is the man and doesn’t think he needs to be held accountable. I really feel Derek Lowe is a cancer to this team. This clubhouse lid is closed tight so you wouldn’t hear much about it but when he got that DUI in buckhead things just seemed to be tailing over there at the end. We need to send Lowe packing!

Henry Aaron's Ghost

October 3rd, 2011
4:13 pm

Feel for Wren????? Surely you are jesting?? This is the same fool who signed KK to a massive contract for nothing, signed McLousy to a big contract for nothing, gave $60 to an 18 game loser and is still stuck with him for another year. Even says that Lowe might not start next year. Well he ain’t closing, so I guess they pay $15 MILLION for a middle reliever, mop up guy. Man, that’s smart. The stupid mistakes this guy made cost this team the ability to get decent players at a time when they needed them. Made them stuck with the likes of Brooks and Eric who could not hit this year. Right, poor Wren. Sure.

NickB

October 3rd, 2011
4:15 pm

They wouldn’t trade Chipper. Even if he only plays 130 games he will out produce Prado at 3b.He wouldn’t approve a trade anyway, and why should he?

Constanza is not a major league hitter (as was proven after the scouting report got out on him and stopped getting on base) It doesn’t matter how fast you are when you are jogging back to the dugout. AT MOST Constanza will be the 4th OF’er and likely will end up back in AAA or traded .

I would love to keep Bourn for his D alone , but he’s a Boras guy and I’m not so sure that the Braves will be able to outbid for him.

NickB

October 3rd, 2011
4:19 pm

Ummm Henry Aarons ghost you got a few things wrong there.

FW didn’t sign Mclouth, he was traded for after having a very good year. It’s not FW’s fault that mclouth folded like a tent once he got to Atlanta.

KK’s signing lies at the feet of the scouting dept. They make the recommendations and the gM has to trust them. Not to mention KK was mishandled as he pitched about the same as Lowe and got demoted…. I wonder if there was something else going on behind the scenes there…

The Lowe thing was a mistake, but it could be worse , we could have Burnett!
I think when you consider the Jurrjens trade, the Javier Vazquez trade and the Uggla trade…. Wren has done a good job. better than JS did the last 5 or 6 years.

bulldogbubba

October 3rd, 2011
4:20 pm

Where are all the Phillie fans.How can we blog without them?

Bama Mike

October 3rd, 2011
4:21 pm

WIth no guarantees who is judging Wren’s performance?

Robert

October 3rd, 2011
4:25 pm

Ghost, you are so right.

I would like to see Bradley and the rest of the AJC writers start holding Wren accountable.

joemoedee

October 3rd, 2011
4:28 pm

It’s hard to situational hit when there’s no one on base.

Case in point, the Braves were 3rd in the league in HR… yet 10th in runs.

The so maligned Nate McLouth was tied for 3rd on the team in OBP with Chipper. That means there were a lot of solo home runs.

A lot of that will improve by cutting loose AGon. (.270 OBP) and if Prado and Heyward can return to their previous form. The game completely changes when runners are on base.

Robert

October 3rd, 2011
4:33 pm

Nick, the Ghost is right on target.

While the scouting department may have recommended signing Kawakami, a 3 year contract for all of those dollars is all on Wren and only Wren. No one else would have given him that kind of money…there’s a reason for that.

RPollardRealtor

October 3rd, 2011
4:34 pm

@Henryaaronsghost & NickB,

Nick you are so right we could of had AJ Burnett. HAG, you have to understand the only pitcher we had was Jair Jurrjens when we signed Derek Lowe and Javiar Vaz, and also signed KK. Also were thinking about trading for Jake Peavy and look what he’s done since then. FW did what he had to do and has done an awesome job.

NickB

October 3rd, 2011
4:34 pm

Hopefully the OBP will get fixed by bringing in a hitting coach who preaches patience over aggressiveness.

Robert

October 3rd, 2011
4:39 pm

And by the way, NickB…the jury is most definitely still out on the Uggla trade. 36 HRs is really good. .233 is really pathetic. Are we going to see the Uggla of the first half of the season again?

It is mind boggling to see fans actually defend Wren.

RPollardRealtor

October 3rd, 2011
4:41 pm

Robert,

what did Omar Infante and Mike Dunn do that we are still out on the Uggla trade? That’s what we traded for him for. His Home Runs!

RPollardRealtor

October 3rd, 2011
4:42 pm

He also played a damn good 2nd base from what I saw. Which I saw over 100 games.

MikeY

October 3rd, 2011
4:47 pm

McLouth, Kawakami, Linebrink, Sherrill, A Gonzalez, and likely Moylen all come off the payroll, saving the Braves almost $20 Million. We’ll have to spend a few million in arbitration increases. But the Braves should have serious money to go after their needs (my view, a SS, RH-hitting OF, backup SS, maybe a veteran reliever or two). Note that after Rollins and Reyes, there is not much depth out there at SS in the free agent ranks. A Gonzalez might be third best (or maybe Furcal?).

Lowe’s contract is a real problem for a trade. The Braves either have to eat a lot of contract (say, $10M, in which case there is not much left for filling the needs on the team), or the Braves will have to trade his bad contract for another team’s bad contract (like Carlos Zambrano or Carlos Lee. Ugh!)

NickB

October 3rd, 2011
4:48 pm

I’m defending him because if one considers the payroll imitations imposed on him he has done a great job. I can’t understand how you could think otherwise.

Are we hamstrung with a 7 yr $100mill+ contract? NO , have we drafted and signed good young talent and developed it to major league levels? YES. When the worst contract on the team is one $15mill pier yr pitcher, I’d say yer doing a pretty good job.

Uggla started out lousy but his 2nd half he hit .296/.379/.569 for an OPS of 948. Considering that Infante hit worse than that . I ‘d say the Uggla deal was a really good deal for Atlanta.

NickB

October 3rd, 2011
4:50 pm

if we can get someone to take Lowe and the team eats $10mill, that still leaves $5mill extra to spend and that could be the difference between a mediocre player and a great one…

MikeY

October 3rd, 2011
4:51 pm

Another measure of how ugly the offense was: Uggla with his .233 average led the team in runs (with 88, 21 more than Freeman’s 67), and in RBIs (with 82, 6 better than Freeman’s 76).

Zenman

October 3rd, 2011
4:53 pm

Trade Lowe & Fredi for Madden. That solves personel concerns.
Get a good trainer who is capable of reaching the players concerning how important it is to be in shape. That would lesson injuries.
Increase players baseball IQ. That would decrease the stupidity show every game.
That should about do it.
Fan ignorance is too far gone to ever be fixed. Most not all. Relax, watch the Rays.

MikeY

October 3rd, 2011
4:53 pm

NickB, you are correct, having to pay $10M to get someone to take Lowe does free up $5M for signing free agents. Thank for the correction…

NickB

October 3rd, 2011
4:55 pm

Any savings at this point would be good IMO…. I wish he’d retire, but he won’t. I just hope we don’t end up paying a middle reliever $15 million bucks!!!!!!!!!

Stinger2

October 3rd, 2011
4:58 pm

All of you who thanked DOB for this should now apologize to Carroll and thank her. This seems to happen a lot. Just
read the name on the byline.

eaglebrave

October 3rd, 2011
5:04 pm

Blaming Martin Prado or saying that he is no longer a starter is crazy. He was an All-star in 2010 at second base. He was then asked to move to LF for 2011 (a position that he had never played). I totally agree that he did not have a great year, but no one could have expected him to have 30 HR and 100 RBI just because he is now a “Left Fielder”. The biggest thing – Don’t forget the man missed about a month of the season when he had to have his leg sliced open to have a staph infection removed and let the leg heal! Hope to see you back at full speed in 2012, Martin!

Felix

October 3rd, 2011
5:14 pm

The Phillies’ fans aren’t gonna be trolling today; they are licking their wounds after one of their aces got beat at home yesterday. The Cards offense made Lee look average. By now Phillies’ fans are beginning to face the stark reality that they can kick sand in the face of weaker teams like the Braves, but the Cards are tough, on a mission and just might kick their butts.

Derek Lowe in FW's Office Today

October 3rd, 2011
5:17 pm

But Frank, I don’t even know how to get to Mississippi.

MikeY

October 3rd, 2011
5:18 pm

Potential 2012 Free Agent Shortstops:

Yuniesky Betancourt
Ronny Cedeno
Adam Everett
Rafael Furcal
Alex Gonzalez
Cesar Izturis
John McDonald
Augie Ojeda
Jose Reyes
Nick Punto
Edgar Renteria
Jose Reyes
Jimmy Rollins
Ramon Santiago
Marco Scutaro
Jack Wilson

Not a lot to smile about past Reyes and Rollins, both will be expensive and are injury prone. I do not think Pastornicki is quite ready, it would be good to get a 1-year deal witha free agent SS to give Pastornicki time to develop.

bostonbravesfanforlife

October 3rd, 2011
5:20 pm

Why is everyone so concerned with SS. AG played a superior defense this year even though he struggled at the plate. If all the HITTERS actually hit, no one would have noticed this. As for Hinskey, he came up as a short stop and was a rookie of the year, but that was 60 lbs ago. He could not get out of his own way at 3rd base now although he is valuable in the role he plays. Heyward needs to shrink his ego a little bit and start listening more but maybe they can cure that problem with a Don Baylor type. Chipper still swears by the way DB helped him out especially establishing his right hand power numbers. They have been off since DB left. Nate is gone, Kawakami is gone, and D. Lowe needs to acclimate himself to also ran because obviously he isn’t in the plans unless he throws nothing but zeros in spring training. It will be tough on the staff next year without a lot of real veteran pitchers but if the hitting comes around, that shouldn’t be a real big problem.

P Rose

October 3rd, 2011
5:24 pm

Q. Will Chipper play if he is hurt?

A. That depends on the injury. I mean, if he gets an ice cream headache that only lasts for 30 seconds, we’ll evaluate after it subsides. But if he has, say a hangover, then no, I don’t think we can play him and risk exposing him to further aggravating the hangover.

Q. Will shooting deer this offseason improve Chipper’s approach at the plate?

A. Not at the plate, no, but maybe in base running. Deer are defenseless, so he naturally enjoys killing them. But he is also helpless in running out grounders when he taps weakly to short. I think he sees himself as the deer, the shortstop as the hunter, and the ball as the bullet. That’s why he gives up, rather than running hard. He understands the deer has no chance.

Q. Will Chipper continue to run his mouth and incite opponents to play harder against the Braves?

A. I think that’s a given. Chipper is a natural born @$$.

Q. Does Chipper have anything to do with the Braves’ 16 consecutive fall collapses since 1995?

A. Of course. He is the only player to have been on all those teams, and he is the team leader. He was a rookie in 1995 when we won it all, but he was clearly not the leader then, David Justice was. Chipper’s negativity had not yet contaminated the clubhouse. But now it’s obvious that the team always flops in any elimination game because their leader is a man of low moral character.

Q. Chipper instigated a disturbing new trend among the Braves this year: hugging players in the dugout after they get a big hit or score a run. Will the dugout hugging continue into next season?

A. Certainly, but you have to remember, Chipper doesn’t hug all the players, just his favorites, the good old boys, especially Dan Uggla. He clearly prefers not to hug the players from the other side of the Gulf. He did hug Jason Heyward, obviously to seem open minded, but you could tell by the look n Jason’s face that he wasn’t too sure about it. This may have in fact contributed to Jason’s slump. But obviously the hugging decreased in the fall, because there were far fewer occasions to celebrate. I think you’ll find next year, as the team continues to nose dive, there will be less and less hugging, because there will be fewer big hits and fewer runs scored.

Q. Will you be glad when 2013 comes and Chipper finally retires?

A. You got that right, brother.

Octavius

October 3rd, 2011
5:31 pm

I thought that Wren should be demoted to locker room manager, but heck he’d probably screw that up too. Might as well just let him join Parrish.

Fire Larry Parrish

October 3rd, 2011
5:35 pm

This team’s going to be so much better in 2012 without losers like Derek Lowe and Nate McLouth. Addition by subtraction.

Pogo

October 3rd, 2011
5:37 pm

eaglebrave , Mclouth was an all-star too. He has had more injuries than you can count. Want to keep him too?

Bob the Blogger

October 3rd, 2011
5:39 pm

I would plattoon Heyward and Prado in RF until one of them asserted himself as the better option. That would free up left field for an upgrade. Prado is a good player, but does not have exceptional power, speed or on-base percentage. When Chipper can’t play, at least we don’t lose much by putting in Prado at 3B.

Coach (2011 Fredi G. FAILED)

October 3rd, 2011
5:46 pm

McCann’s problems stemmed from that 19 inning affair back on July 26th. I watched the whole damn thing and haven’t forgotten what really happened.

McCann injured his oblique in the third inning and for some reason Fredi left him in the game, probably because Mac talked his way into staying in the contest. But then when the game went into extra innings and Mac really seriously injured himself in the tenth inning, that was when the aha moment came…..

Fredi should have pulled McCann and didn’t, Mac went on the DL afterward. The result of our managers poor judgement contributed to the physical decline from Mac, which of course added to the overall collapse. Then when realizing that the abused bullpen ( O’Flaherty, Venters and Kimbrel) also wore down, one questions the ability of Fredi Gonzalez to properly manage his players.

This fan for one has lost all faith in Fredi and until proven different, the man is a liability and on the hot seat in 2012. His job is on the line, period.

Derek Lowe.......WTF

October 3rd, 2011
5:49 pm

I notice you guys in the media didnt ask how stable/secure Freddi G’s job is……hmmmmmm. Treating Wren with kid gloves after the most drmatic meltdown in MLB history are we? Obviously the media in boston CARE…..u Atlanta media guys are total whusses……

morehouse man

October 3rd, 2011
5:52 pm

the braves will never be a good team as long as fredi is the manager. he ia an idiot.. did he not named lowe as the open day starter after only two weeks of spring training?

MikeY

October 3rd, 2011
5:54 pm

Bostonbravesfanforlife, I am concerned about SS because Alex Gonzalez is a free agent. I agree, he may be OK for next year, may be the third best FA SS out there for us to chose from. But he is as of right now, not signed as a Brave for next year, and the Braves have no rights to him. So we have a hole at SS, unless Partornicky really steps up in 2012.

Bob

October 3rd, 2011
5:54 pm

Great article Carroll, and the AJC should give you a substantial raise for having to interview this clown. Wren is part of the overall problem; clean house…get rid of the Cox Culture…hire some basball brains.

ijudgenot

October 3rd, 2011
5:55 pm

“I saw Fredi deal with Hanley Ramirez last year and feel he can put his own stamp on this club when the time comes, and I think it’s now.”

Fredi can’t put HIS stamp on this team, if he has one without Cox’s seal on it, as long as Chipper is still playing. To put his stamp on the team he has to do the things he said brought about the Hanly Ramirez incident. A manager has to be able to command that the best player or team leader on the team does everything he would expect the least talented player on the team to do. He can’t and won’t have Chipper do the training regimen, the situational hitting or drop in batting order that he could ask of others, therefore guys like McCann, Uggla and Heyward will continue to be free swinggers who swing at the first pitch(guessing fastball) 90% of the time. When you read the GM saying that they have to “protect”(coddle) a 40 year old player in order for him to play 120 games, you know and the other players know that the manager can’t require him to do what the other team members do. Check back with me in 2013 after Chipper finally(fingers crossed) hangs it up.

Bob

October 3rd, 2011
5:59 pm

Simple soultion: Just take Chippah off the roster and make him hitting coach for his last year. Surely we can find a .240 hitter that can play 160 games and have better than average fielding.

buckhead benny

October 3rd, 2011
6:04 pm

Mark,

how do you not ask about Jose Constanza and where you envision his role? They played awful when they took him out of the lineup and inserted Heyward everyday? How come you guys don’t analyze the fact that Constanza played one time since September 6th and this goes down as one of the worst collapses in baseball history. How do you as a reporter not ask or see the relevance of that?

they were on a terror with Constanza in the lineup- he even finished the year at over 300-

cowdogit

October 3rd, 2011
6:04 pm

Prediction’s for 2012. Chipper will arrive at spring training in a new motorized wheelchair and Frank will be so happy he will give him a new three year contract for forty five million. Prado will play a regular season at second base and win a batting title.Uggla will move to third and have a great year.McCann will swing so hard at a knuckle ball the bat will slip out of his hands and kill the New York Mets right fielder. While playing right field Jason Heyward will be watching a female fan will be hit in the forehead by a line drive, This will cause him to move back another foot in the batters box.Bobby Cox will have one of the braves announcers fired for suggesting pitching coach Leo mazzone had anything to do with winning the fourteen division titles.Derek Lowe will sign a new contract with the Miller beer company.During a phillies game Fredi will be cough asleep in the dugout wearing false eyelids.

Zenman

October 3rd, 2011
6:16 pm

Even if Braves don’t win next year, as long as some of the best predictiions come true I’ll be satisfied.

Add your comment