(UPDATED: 9:15 p.m. with news of Philadelphia trading for Houston outfielder Hunter Pence.)
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff just worked his magic to sign defensive end Ray Edwards.
Frank Wren: You’re on the clock.
This is an important time for both the Falcons and Braves. The NFL is in free agency and major league baseball is bumping up against the trade deadline. This is when championship contenders often
The Falcons believed they needed to add at least one significant player on defense to compete for a Super Bowl. Edwards should provide that. He gives them a pass rusher from the left side as a complement to John Abraham.
The Braves need to add some offensive power, preferably a right-handed hitting outfielder who can drive in runs. Wren has had talks for several different players, but he hasn’t pushed the button on a deal yet. He balked at letting go of a valued pitching prospect (Mike Minor) for a rental player (Carlos Beltran).
The question now: Are the Braves willing to do what it would take to land a high-profile player like Houston’s Hunter Pence or the Chicago White Sox’ Carlos Quentin, or do they settle for somebody the next tier down (Ryan Ludwick or Josh Willingham) and hope the rest of the roster gets healthy enough for the stretch drive?
UPDATE: The Braves apparently pushed for Pence but Philadelphia pushed harder and acquired the outfielder from the Astros, according to multiple outlets. Fox Sports baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal first reported Houston will get four prospects in the deal, including two highly coveted ones: first baseman Jonathan Singleton and pitcher Jarred Cosart. So the Braves have now seen their biggest competition in the National League, the Phillies and Giants, both make major moves.
Dimitroff has worked this condensed free agency period brilliantly. Now it’s Wren’s turn.
For what it’s worth, in March I ranked Atlanta’s then-four pro sports general managers, and Dimitroff edged Wren for the top spot. We’ll re-evaluate after the Braves and Falcons complete their seasons.
There is still time before Sunday’s trade deadline for the Braves to make a move. San Francisco, coming off a World Series, already made its move by trading for Beltran. Philadelphia is pursuing several players and some believe may have the inside track on Pence.
We’ll find out soon enough how serious the Braves are about winning a World Series this year.
By Jeff Schultz