The Braves have given general manager Frank Wren a two-year contract extension. There was a time when that news might have led fans to storm Turner Field with torches and pitchforks, but now it’s perfectly appropriate.
I understand that Wren remains somewhat of a polarizing figure. But the moves he made last season to get the Braves back to the postseason — despite an inordinate number of injuries to the lineup — could easily have earned him Executive of the Year honors in baseball.
There were obvious mistakes early in Wren’s tenure, immediately after he replaced John Scherholz. He didn’t handle the exits of either Tom Glavine or John Smoltz particularly well, especially given that both were franchise legends. He overspent for pitchers Derek Lowe and certainly Kenshin Kawakami. The acquisition of Nate McLouth hasn’t worked out.
The winter he swung and missed when attempting to get Rafael Furcal, Jake Peavy and A.J. Burnett wasn’t too good, either.
But through it all, Wren has navigated the Braves through a difficult transition process (from age to youth). He added several valuable pieces last winter, including Billy Wagner, Eric Hinske and Troy Glaus (the half-season MVP).
We can debate the merits (and certainly long-term ramifications) of the Alex Gonzalez-for-Yunel Escobar deal, but there’s something to be said for a general manager who’s willing to take risks rather than one who sits on his hands.
With this winter’s acquisition of Dan Uggla, the Braves have the potential to go back to the playoffs again and possibly challenge Philadelphia in the National League East.
Wren is doing all of this despite dealing with the relatively tight purse strings of Liberty Media. A two-year extension was well deserved.
Agree or disagree?
By Jeff Schultz