Q and A with Frank Wren

Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field.

The Braves started the second half of the season Friday with a 46-39 record, second in the National League East behind the Nationals. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Chris Vivlamore sat down with Braves general manager Frank Wren for an exclusive interview to discuss the first half of the season and what he expects in the second half, especially with the July 31 trade deadline weeks away.

Q. Let’s start by looking back. What are your thoughts about the first half of the season and where the team is now?

A. I think we’ve shown that we have a good team. It remains to be seen how good based on how consistent we play in the second half. Chipper [Jones] probably said it best a couple of weeks ago, we’ve got to be more consistent. I think we saw signs of that right before the [All-Star] break. The last week before the break we played very good baseball. The sweep in Philadelphia points to good things. Now, we have to continue to play like that.

Q. How much payroll flexibility do the Braves have going into the trade deadline?

A. We have flexibility to make a deal. I think we have the kind of talent that other teams want in our system. We have flexibility in the payroll to add a significant piece if we think it’s justified.

Q. Looking for short-term help at shortstop aside, would acquiring a starting pitcher be your top priority?

A. I think it’s early. We are evaluating everything. I think as we watch over the next 10 days, two weeks, we’ll have a better sense. We think having a guy like Ben Sheets is going to add consistency to the back end of our rotation. We think that will help. I think we need to continue to watch our team and see how it performs.

Q. Do you look to add a bat too?

A. Again, it’s hard to be real specific right now because everything is on the table. How do you make your team better? Arguably, we have one of the best outfields in baseball when you look at the way Jason Heyward, Michael Bourn and Martin Prado have performed. It’s hard for me to quite figure out where we’d plug a bat in. Those guys have performed so well. We’ve got a young guy at first base in Freddie Freeman. Chipper has been tremendous. Dan Uggla started off well and had a little bit slow end of the first half. We saw last year that that can change very quickly. We are going to patch our way through shortstop until Andrelton Simmons comes back. We have a perennial All-Star at catcher in Brian McCann. I’m not sure where we would add a bat but we are open to evaluate the team all the time.

Q. A lot of fans ask about Michael Bourn. Is there any update on the possibility of re-signing him?

A. We like Michael Bourn as much as they do. We hope he is here for a long time.

Q. How about Brian McCann?

A. Brian is a Brave. He, obviously, has an option for next year. He has an option for next year and at the appropriate time we’ll talk about the future.

Q. Has the team moved past last season’s September collapse? Or is there a hangover effect?

A. I don’t think so. I think we saw the team bounce out of the gate well in April. If you look at our schedule, from late May until the end of June, I think we played all teams that were above .500. We had a tough grind. We came through that pretty well unscathed, record-wise. It came at some cost. We lost Brandon Beachy for the season and then, on Sunday, losing Simmons for at least probably six weeks. So those were tough losses for us. This team is pretty resilient. They’ll continue to go out and battle and show what they are made of.

Q. From a GM standpoint, how do you evaluate the roster in the offseason when it concerns judging how players, say like Dan Uggla, will respond after down seasons?

A. There are no guarantees. That is the thing you learn very quickly is that there are no guarantees about how a guy is going to perform year to year. The one thing you see over the course of time, is that guys develop a track record and they usually will perform to that level year in and year out. There are going to be years where they don’t quite meet it and there are going to be years when they exceed it. Dan has been around long enough, seven years in the big leagues, that he has a pretty consistent track record of being able to hit 30 home runs and he’s going to hit in the mid-to-upper .200s. He has the ability to have an impact on a team.

- Chris Vivlamore

40 comments Add your comment

Slips

July 13th, 2012
8:55 pm

pitching pitching pitching

Merlin

July 13th, 2012
8:56 pm

The second wild card means that games now are just as important as games in September. Hesitating is like buying your gift on Xmas eve, you get what’s left

Ralph

July 13th, 2012
8:57 pm

Uggla is already having an impact on the team but not a good impact.

Ralph

July 13th, 2012
8:58 pm

I don’t know why you bother interviewing Wren, he desn’t say anything.

BravesfaninWis

July 13th, 2012
9:20 pm

Sorry, but I believe that Hudson deserves a loss here tonight. When you are a starting pitcher and are handed a 5 run lead, you should win the damn game, not give up 4 runs the next inning. Good grief, I wish this team could just put their foot on their opponents necks when they have them down. For whatever reason, the Braves just can’t put teams away when they have good leads.

eskippy

July 13th, 2012
9:30 pm

You need a big patch.

alex

July 13th, 2012
9:32 pm

uggla”track record”, Frank Wrenn “incompetent GM”

BravesfaninWis

July 13th, 2012
9:36 pm

Leave it to the Braves to allow a team to get back in a game, then lead the bottom half of their own inning off with a leadoff double and not score. How many times have we seen this same old song and dance? Win the f’n game already, you had a 5 run lead at home. If you lose this game, then we know what kind of team the Braves really are. Seen this way to many times from this team.

BravesfaninWis

July 13th, 2012
9:41 pm

Good, as much as I hate to say it, Hudson did not deserve a win in this one. Anytime you have a team down 5-0 at home, you better win that game. Allowing them to score 4 runs in a inning is pathetic. The Braves definitely don’t have a shutdown starting pitcher. They all could lose when being given a big lead.

BravesfaninWis

July 13th, 2012
9:44 pm

This entire pitching staff with the exception of a few suck. Martin is definitely one of the sucky ones.

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jack's BBQ

July 13th, 2012
9:55 pm

Still can’t believe this game, even if we manage to pull it out, it should go down as a moral loss. I blame it on Jack Wilson. Can’t believe we did not call up the Rev for 2 games. Not that calling up the Rev would solve our problems, but hell, he is 10 miles away……go figure.

BravesfaninWis

July 13th, 2012
10:11 pm

That is what separates the good teams from the Braves. Any “good” team would have scored more than one run in that last inning and the Braves scored none. They deserve to lose this game.

bostonbravo

July 13th, 2012
10:25 pm

movie sequel to ” DAN UGGLA….ALL STAR”

” Juan Fatsisco…Braves Blimp Joke with Adam Sandler”

bostonbravo

July 13th, 2012
10:28 pm

At least WILSON had the “cahones” to leave without getting fired…Uggla will definitely carry this team to the basement. He does have courage, I’ll concede to show his face (usually under filthy beard)…if in NY, or Phil?? He’d be GONE!!!!!!!. I hate him!!

WTG Chipper…ignore the other’s incompetence!

bostonbravo

July 13th, 2012
10:30 pm

Wren…wimpy owner mouthpiece…pos.

VinceVanGo

July 13th, 2012
10:32 pm

I don’t know what’s wrong with Frank Wren but he had 5 days to make a roster move so that the Braves weren’t in a desperate situation at short and on the bench for tonight’s game and he did nothing. Now they’re having to play their emergency shortstop(Thank God for Prado). It was a no brainer to call up Pastornicky if he couldn’t work out a trade during the All-Star break. We’re in a pennant race Frank for Christ sake. Get your head into the game.

Jasons Shrinking Waist

July 13th, 2012
10:40 pm

Does Wren think that Bourn is resigning in Atl?
Hes delusional

Yogi Berra

July 13th, 2012
10:41 pm

Wren should run for Congress..he knows how to spin the truth.

Jasons Shrinking Waist

July 13th, 2012
10:42 pm

Wren will offer Bourn 5 million for 3 yrs then say “we made our best offer and he elected to sign elsewhere”

VinceVanGo

July 13th, 2012
10:45 pm

Hey I’m glad the TV announcers cleared things up for me tonight on what’s been wrong with McCann in the first half. They said he was on Maternity Leave. It’s got to be hard to be a good catcher and hitter when your pregnant. Too much squatting and swinging going on.

bostonbravo

July 13th, 2012
10:57 pm

I loved Chip’s grampa Harry…he was a homer…BUT..he would absolutely rant against crappy players & managerial decisions. I’m glad he’s not around to hear some of the stuff his son’s son sez…HEY!!! Fredi..YOU SUCK!!! Uggla! You are a JOKE!! Fatsico, open a Cubano Sandwich joint, Wren..leave town BEFORE they fire you! & take Hinske & Wilson with you!

ChopForChipper

July 13th, 2012
11:05 pm

BravesfaninWis…you have to be the most pessimistic fan I have ever come across. Do you even really like the Braves? Go be Mets fan if you’re goning to be such a Negative Nancy.

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

July 13th, 2012
11:34 pm

Brian is a Brave.

Yes, he is, and don’t you forget it!!…

Coach (2012 Fredi's Beisbol Fandango)

July 14th, 2012
3:41 am

Frank Wren, I really hope you read this because this is one season where you have lost this fans faith.

Sir, for someone who has been in the game of professional baseball virtually your entire life, what were you thinking in spring training? Anybody could see that Simmons was by far the better player rather than Pastornicky. Then there was the issue of our starting pitching right from the beginning. Jurrjens didn’t belong and you knew this but kept the guy in your rotation before finally sending him down.

And Kris Medlen. Bullpen? then you stretch the guy out to start and put him back in the pen….Indian giver would be an understatement.

As for your roster construction. The bench stunk, stinks and blows chunks. When anybody not named McCann needs a break or gets hurt, their replacement can’t do the job adequately.

Now we are supposed to believe Ben Sheets has more to offer than Minor or Delgado?

Dear sir, I’m not impressed with your job performance….at all.

Um, time to pull it out of your keister and get with the program because the last thing any of us want to see is another Braves team missing the playoffs, by the thinnest of margins due to mistakes from their front office.

longtimefan

July 14th, 2012
7:01 am

Hey Coach, FW did not keep Simmons on ML roster out of ST because 1) He had never played above A ball and the biggest transition in MLB is from A to AA- he needed some bats at AA 2)They had to know what they had in Pasternicky for trade, move to another position or what, and MOST importantly, 3) By waiting until after June 1 to call up Simmons they have one more year of control before they have to pay the big bucks- that’s huge because they know what they have in him as SS of future.
Also, for all of complaining about FW not saying anything in interview- Do you expect him to show his cards and telegraph his intentions to all the GMs in MLB? Seriously? You guys must suck at poker. Leave the managing of the team to the experts.

Brandon

July 14th, 2012
7:19 am

Also, @Coach , jurrjens did not have the best spring training but there is no way that you take a veteran out of the rotation because of a lackluster spring training. NO team would have done that, and jurrjens showed some signs of improvement. Can you imagine the Giants sending down lincecum because of a bad spring? As a matter of fact, have they sent down lincecum yet?

Stretching out kris medlen and putting him back into the bullpen happened because while he was gone, the braves bullpen blew two 4 run games and it was clear that the bullpen was lacking without him.
Also, delgado and minor were pitching too good to take them out of the rotation.

As for the bench, matt diaz has done what he is suppose to do…hit southpaws. David ross has been great. Eric Hinske has struggled, but given his track record, you don’t just trade or release him. Wilson has served as a defensive replacement, which i have no problem with considering the flashbacks to the 2010 NLDS with conrad, and Francisco is out of options. It would be hard to trade a potential 30-40 home run hitter (Francisco) who could see much more playing time next season. His average has definitely dipped because of lack of playing time.

As for ben sheets, low risk …HIGH reward. I see nothing wrong with that pick up

Just Wanna Say

July 14th, 2012
9:29 am

@Brandon. Well said.

man and dog

July 14th, 2012
10:07 am

Interviewing Frank Wren is like interviewing Eddie Haus.

Great, Jack Wilson

July 14th, 2012
10:22 am

There’s a lot of idiots in here. Thankfully, none of you are in charge of the Braves.

rogerash

July 14th, 2012
1:14 pm

@bravesfaninwis…..calm down dude its ok the braves won that is all that matters your gonna have a stroke…the braves are OK and will win their division

oldmaninatlanta

July 14th, 2012
1:46 pm

Cant help remembering back a few yrs back with Turner owning them and when it got to this point he flashed the checkbook..and Schuerholz went and got what we needed.surely not that way now

bravo-n-knoxville

July 14th, 2012
1:54 pm

@BravesFaninWis:

Face it already. Favre is not coming back and donning the Green & Maise#4. Neither will Smoltz, Glavine, or Maddux toe the rubber at the Ted. Try D-caf in the a.m. & late evenings…you might be able to enjoy a victory for a change…aye?

Stumpknocker

July 14th, 2012
2:00 pm

Lets hope that Ben Sheets can give this pitching staff a lift. If Hudson is the ace right now, we’re not hittin on much………and your right “oldmaninatlanta”……now it means we need better preparation and planning from the GM.

Braves Fan

July 14th, 2012
3:40 pm

In other words bla bla bla. They move Tyler back up and sit him. They look for trade in short stop and trade away talent for a 3 week player. They wont move a lowly minor pitcher to get what we need and they wont spend any money. This is a major league club playing the little league game.

[...] Wren’s comment was part of a Q&A with our Chris Vivlamore, which you can read here. [...]

markalpharetta

July 14th, 2012
4:00 pm

I’m surprised no one mentions help for the bench–other than backup catcher, the bench is awful.It would be nice to have a bat off the bench Frank– since you can;t seem to figure out where you would fit another bat in.

Jan Kinf

July 14th, 2012
8:02 pm

What is the deal with Uggla? When he comes up, you just think strike out. When excited at 2nd. base he over throws. Just can’t depend on him but once in awhile he’ll homer. I’m from Pgh. and Roberto Clemente was a sure thing at bat. Now a Braves fan since 1999, just have a hard time with Uggla.

[...] Hanson is 10-5, making him the biggest winner among Braves. But his ERA rose above 4.00 after yielding six earned runs (on nine hits) in 5 1/3 innings Saturday, and it would be a stretch to dub him a No. 1 starter. Nor is Tim Hudson a No. 1, not anymore. The Braves will deploy the retread Ben Sheets against the Mets on Sunday with the hope — general manager Frank Wren’s words here — of adding “consistency to the back end of our rotation.” [...]

Al Easey

June 13th, 2013
11:37 am

I have a couple, 1. Why do we continue to pump people to vote for Evan Gattis for the All-Star game when our own mgr. won’t sit a guy batting .150 to play him!!!! ( But he does deserve to be an All-Star in spite of our misuse of his talent) 2. Quit kidding yourself when it comes to Uggla, He is a home run or nothing offensively usually nothing!! and probably the worst fielding second baseman in the NL, at the very least he should be platooned with Pena!! If we really want to win, than start playing the players that have helped us win, everytime they get the chance to play that is, reguardless of their salary!!!

What’s The Braves’ Next Move

August 3rd, 2013
8:45 am

[...] Wren learned to be a GM under Dave Dombrowski and John Schuerholz. In my view he thinks of himself as that type of GM; a quiet behind the scenes dealer who spots an undervalued player or an opportunity to snatch a long term quality asset and considers the price paid an investment. The trouble with trying to catch lightning in a bottle like that is that it’s lightning and not catching it means you may get fried. Even though he’s been singed badly a few times he must shrug that fear off and go for it now. It’s time to be bold again, time to think outside the box, unbutton the collar and swing for the fences.  And, he has the wherewithal to do just that, or so he told Chris Vivlamore  in a Q&A for the AJC on Friday. [...]

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