Braves, Wren whiff on Greinke — and this is getting old

Zack Greinke is on his way to the Angels. (AP photo)

Zack Greinke: On his way to Angels. (AP)

Frank Wren is trying to swing a deal. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Frank Wren: Looking for help. (Curtis Compton)

(UPDATED: 9:10 p.m.)

The first pitcher they went after (Ryan Dempster) said no. He prefers Los Angeles.

The second pitcher they went after (Zack Greinke) was traded to Los Angeles (no, not that L.A. team, the other L.A. team).

The Braves are trying to get better before Tuesday’s trade deadline. We think. But this journey is turning into some weird nightmare, or at least a Randy Newman retrospective. (“I Love L.A.!”)

Remember when the Braves used to get what they want? Remember when 90-plus-win seasons and playoff games seemed as plentiful as potato chips?

General manager Frank Wren said Friday night that he didn’t believe the Braves were close to a trade for a starting pitcher of significance. No kidding. I’m not sure how many are left.

When Wren was asked if he was balking at parting with a coveted prospect like Julio Teheran for a rental player like Greinke, he responded: “I really don’t want to go there. We’ve had a sense for what [teams] are looking for with all these big guys. Some may be a little cost prohibitive.”

And there it is.

At some point, maybe it will be about this season, not next year or the one after that. But right now it’s not looking that way.

The Braves still have a few days until Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline to fix their starting rotation, which has been dropping engine parts for the past several miles. But if they don’t succeed, it will be because Frank “You’ll Get My Prospects When You Pry Them From My Cold Dead Hands” Wren is focused on tomorrow, not today. Again.

Try to explain that to the players in the clubhouse. They believe the team needs a boost to catch Washington in the East (or survive a six-team wild-card cage match with all limbs intact.)

Even Tim Hudson, the current No. 1 starter, said of the team’s attempts to get a starting pitcher: “Everybody’s encouraged by it. It’s an area that’s been inconsistent for us all year. We’re here to win. There’s no reason to take it personally – unless I’m being bumped out of a job.”

It’s obvious where Chipper Jones stands. This is his last season. He wants another shot at the World Series.

When word circulated the other day that Florida had exploded another dumb-bomb and traded Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers, signaling a housecleaning, Jones was sitting on the Braves’ team bus in Miami. On walked Wren. Jones began his mock throat-clearing and in a humorous hoarse tone said, “Josh Johnson!”

Wren smiled. But he didn’t make a move.

Wren satisfied the Cubs in a potential trade for Dempster, so we can’t put that one on him. (Dempster still hasn’t been traded to the Dodgers, so there’s at least some possibility he could change his stance.) But Wren generally has been resistant to parting with top young pitchers Teheran and Randall Delgado for a potential rental player.

The Brewers traded Greinke to the Angels (for shortstop Jean Segura and two prospects) because Wren wouldn’t give up enough for a pitcher who potentially could lead them to a World Series. The Marlins are asking for the moon and the sun for Johnson, as they should. He’s not only good, he’s signed through next season. He might be worth more than even Greinke. Great players don’t come for cheap.

Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci reaffirmed the upside for teams that acquire starting pitchers at the deadline. He noted that over the past five years, contenders have traded for 19 starting pitchers in July. Those pitchers accumulated a record of 94-45. Nine pitched in the postseason. That includes Edwin Jackson, who went 6-3 (including playoffs) with St. Louis last year following a trade and helped the Cardinals to the World Series. Verducci referenced other recent “sudden-impact” pitchers at the deadline: Cliff Lee (Texas, Philadelphia), Roy Oswalt (Philadelphia), Ted Lilly (L.A. Dodgers), C.C. Sabathia (Milwaukee) and Joe Blanton (Philadelphia).

Friday did not pass without the Braves making a move. They signed 41-year-old Miguel Batista, who was just released by the New York Mets, to a minor-league contract.

Wren doesn’t necessarily see Batista being called up and becoming a factor for the Braves down the stretch. But you never know. It was worth a shot. Batista comes cheap. And isn’t that what’s most important of all?

By Jeff Schultz

445 comments Add your comment

pat

July 27th, 2012
6:38 pm

Braves Suck

July 27th, 2012
6:43 pm

this team is pathetic. i dont care if it is for depth, miguel batista? the braves used to be one of, if not the, most revered pitching team in the game. now we are relegated to the batista and livans of the world? seriously, screw this team. what’s he gonna do, protect our AAA club’s bullpen from overuse? i’m done with this trash team, and more importantly, the stingy a** management.

Taylor Wooten

July 27th, 2012
6:45 pm

whats really going on here? is this GM so incapable, or is he just the front for his liberty bosses, who control the cash?

lanier

July 27th, 2012
6:46 pm

start Batista Sunday

Taylor Wooten

July 27th, 2012
6:46 pm

they are running this franchise into the ground

Sonny Clusters

July 27th, 2012
6:51 pm

We was under the weather for awhile and had to go to the hospital for an operation. A nurse told us our doctor was a slow starter and was in a slump right now but he had the potential to get hot and go on a tear so they kept running him out there for surgeries. All we could think about was Dan Uggla and how Fredi keeps running him out there despite all those strikeouts and popups and runners left on base. Anyway, the doctor came in with some big Pop-Pie arms to say hello to us and that’s when we decided we was feeling a lot better and was ready to go home.

Jimmy casey

July 27th, 2012
6:52 pm

Con sarn it if I were wrin I would trade for cole shamels cause I like the way he squeals like a pig when my brother/uncle plays the banjo.

Braves Suck

July 27th, 2012
6:52 pm

You know why the Braves suck? They have no superstars. Sure, a lot of above average players, but no superstars. (Chipper used to be one, and while his numbers for a 40 year old are impressive, he’s not a superstar) What do I mean by superstar? A defining player or two. Players who are amongst the top at their position. Folks like Josh Hamilton, Pujols, Cano, Jose Bautista, etc. This team doesn’t even have one 40 HR hitter. How many will reach 30? Uggla? OK, but he’ll do it with a .235 average. After him, no one will even get 25. And before anyone says “It’s not all about HRs,” point taken. But the fact is this team doesn’t have superstars, or even one. Just a bunch of above average players. Go look at the world series champs of years past and see how they had superstars on their team. the giants of 2010? lincecum and cain. cards of last season? pujols and wainwright (who was out for the season, yet that didnt seem to faze them one bit) you could add holliday to the mix, but he’s borderline now. tired of this team not doing ish, go out and get a difference maker you bums

BigWad

July 27th, 2012
6:53 pm

I hope we can laugh at this later next week after we sign Johnson or Grienke to a longterm deal. I`ve been spoiled by the Ted Turner money tree years but I can`t stand this level of ineptitude on the field and in the front office. Get anybody to buy this team and get Liberty Comm out of here!!!! I would trade Uggla, JJ, and either Delgado or Theran for Johnson on a longterm deal based on performance clauses. Now!!!!!

old fart

July 27th, 2012
6:54 pm

Tt’s official. Wren is brain dead.

bulldogbubba

July 27th, 2012
6:55 pm

Buck Belue says Dan Uggla tears it up in August. I will believe it when I see it. I think Uggla has already checked out this season. Pitiful. Have to tip your cap to Chipper for hanging in there, but it is not September yet. GO BRAVES!!!!

Braves Suck

July 27th, 2012
6:55 pm

this team is garbage for yet another reason. why do players seem to leave the braves and get better? i’m looking at you MELKY CABRERA. dude was a complete bum here, and now he leads the league in average? how much would that have helped us if he had played like that while he were here? how come no one comes to the braves and becomes awesome then? oh right, its the braves.

Taylor Wooten

July 27th, 2012
6:57 pm

Could somebody get Disney to buy the team?

bulldogbubba

July 27th, 2012
6:57 pm

wELCOME BACK MR. CLUSTERS.WE HAVE MISSED YOUR THOUGHTS. THOUGHT MAYBE YOU AND MARK BRADLEY HAD GONE ON VACATION TOGETHER.

Dirtybirdsin12

July 27th, 2012
6:59 pm

If we had a manager capable of leading this team to a World Series then I would be all for trading the farm for Greinke. As is, I don’t think it would be worth it

Braves Suck

July 27th, 2012
7:02 pm

all these reporters who cover the braves, neigh, atlanta sports in general, are resolutely ballless. drop a pair, and start keeping it real. you should be asking the hard questions, instead of mere perfunctory coverage of the worst sports city of all time. how can a city that is this big, even host the olympics, and absolutely SUCK in all facets of major sports? whens the last time we even SNIFFED a championship? the falcons? 1st round playoff losers, all day long. and they dont just lose, they are laughed off the field. the braves? lol yeah right. go spend some money you liberty bums. i wont even go to the games anymore while they still own. the dawgs? top recruiting talent each year, and can’t do anything. they are about as pathetic as it gets, considering other top SEC teams have multiple titles in recent years. thrashers were garbage while they were here too. why is this city such trash when it comes to sports? fu** everything about being a sports fan in this dump

bravofano

July 27th, 2012
7:02 pm

No starting pitching move is necessary. They will still be bad either way. But I think it has been said multiple times to just send JJ back down or try to trade for a bullpen guy. Medlen can be the starter they need and he should be. Then you have Sheets, Hudson, Hanson, Medlen, and Minor. That’s a decent rotation for this team for the rest of the year. Bring Delgado up for the bullpen so he continues to get major league experience. I mean he is usually good for one to two innings at least so I think he would work well there. This way they don’t end up making a trade they would regret for a team that is NOT GOING TO WIN THE WORLD SERIES. They are not even close. So continue to build for the future. Don’t do some dumb trade for a team that can’t win it all and is not even the best in the division. So we trade everything and get Greinke for two months. That accomplishes nothing. It does not change the fact that Fredi can’t manage and that Uggla cannot hit and that Chipper is hurting this team by not playing every day and just soaking up salary. Imagine no Chipper Jones and the money that we could be using for a player that could play every day. I know Chipper has some latitude for what he has done for the organization. But seriously, he should have taken a pay cut to stay on the roster since he is not going to be out there as an every day player or be on the DL.

Sonny Clusters

July 27th, 2012
7:03 pm

We saw it with Andruw. We saw it with Frenchy. Now we are seeing it with Dan Uggla. Horrible at-bats. Non-competitive at-bats. Sissy at-bats. Pop-Pie arms or not he has sissy at-bats. Fredi Gonzalez says they’ve been together a long time and he’s read Uggla’s baseball card and he knows to keep running him out there. Gotta tip your cap to that kind of thinking. .213 and dropping.

J-MAN

July 27th, 2012
7:07 pm

Mr. Schultz it seems that Wren is afraid to make a trade and the Braves really havent made an addition since the Uggla trade in December of 2010. The fact is the Braves need to trade for Grienke because of Tommy Hanson is not a number 2 starter and not really a number 4 either if you look at the numbers. In fact if you look at the numbers Randall Delgado has been the 3rd best starter this year behind Beechy and Hudson.

Dirtybirdsin12

July 27th, 2012
7:07 pm

This is one of the best hitting teams in the NL, in spite of Dan Uggla. You people need to learn where to direct your complaints.

DOB Has To Ask Tougher Questions

July 27th, 2012
7:07 pm

You have to tip your cap to the Braves for not wanting to get embarrassed in a trade again! Atta boy, Braves!
Also, you gotta give a tip of the old capper to the Oakland A’s for totally screwing up crappy baseball markets like Atlanta. The more they win with that payroll, the more of an excuse Wrenny has to hold down the payroll and say some stupid crap like “You don’t need a large payroll to win. Just look at Oakland.” Soooooooo, atta boy, Oaky!

kral

July 27th, 2012
7:08 pm

that was funny sonny…hope you are doing good, but I KNOW I may be a fool too..keep hoping ugg will turn it around..because I believe if he could just hit .250 with 10 to 15 smackers the rest of the way..oh well I JUST KEEP HOPING

J-MAN

July 27th, 2012
7:09 pm

The AJC needs to call out Wren more to make the trade

jimmya

July 27th, 2012
7:09 pm

best thing wren could do is nothing dont give up our farm players for someone to just be a rental

kral

July 27th, 2012
7:10 pm

a Braves blog is like old GM nite at the church bingo game

Wrecker

July 27th, 2012
7:11 pm

Fifth best record in the National League and in the playoffs. What more do you people expect? You all were screaming about the run production last year. The Braves brought in new hitting coaches and now we are third in runs scored, despite an off year by Uggla and slow start by McCann. You guys screamed and moaned about Bobby Cox and John Schuerholz, but now you pray for those days and disparage Gonzalez and Wren. Let me tell you, there have been many lean years in the Braves’ history. The consistent excellence of the last 22 seasons has spoiled you all. Qwityerbitchin’.

Steve

July 27th, 2012
7:12 pm

Can we trade Frank Wren?

BravesFan79

July 27th, 2012
7:16 pm

I would trade whatever it took for Grienke, because hes indicated hed like to be a Brave, and we got a excellent shot as resigning him. I wouldnt trade any major prospects for Dempster.

kral

July 27th, 2012
7:18 pm

said well wrecker

J-MAN

July 27th, 2012
7:20 pm

It seems that the Teixeria trade really has made this organization afraid to trade any prospects.

Braves Suck

July 27th, 2012
7:20 pm

ANGELS JUST GOT ZACK GREINKE. WHAT’S PLAN C?

B1

July 27th, 2012
7:21 pm

j man, some of most brain dead comments ever.

B1

July 27th, 2012
7:22 pm

we didn’t want greinke. hello. do you know the game of baseball? No you don’t.

kral

July 27th, 2012
7:23 pm

I wish some of you were Cub fans..are at least follow the philosophy of Collin cowteurd..if they do not give you a winner..go to a movie..eat out..jump on the bandwagon for another team

Steve

July 27th, 2012
7:23 pm

The Braves have been to one playoff under Frank Wren. ONE

B1

July 27th, 2012
7:23 pm

we want jj, chipper has been dropping this lately. word is, he wants to come on down to atl-ga.

Zing

July 27th, 2012
7:23 pm

It seems as though it’d be a mistake to trade Delgado, who seems so close to a breakthrough, for a two-month player, but if it’s more like a 1 1/2 year player in mid-career, I could see it. The Braves will have Vizcaino and (eventually) Beachy back next year, and they can/should have Medlen in the rotation in spring 2013 (if not before), so there’s more depth at SP than it might at first appear.

B1

July 27th, 2012
7:25 pm

no one’s trading delgado where’d you hear that?

J-MAN

July 27th, 2012
7:26 pm

Well “Wrecker” I expect a move to be made when we have the CHANCE to make the playoffs.
When we have the prospects to make that trade.
We missed the playoffs by ONE GAME last year because we didnt go for it and stood pat.
I expect a different result
I expect a team with urgency
So Quit your appathetic attitude toward accepting mediocrity.

Sonny Clusters

July 27th, 2012
7:27 pm

Jeff, we’ve never seen you with a short sleeve shirt on. Do you have Pop-Pie arms? Do Pop-Pie arms slow down a journalist trying to meet a deadline? Do you think a baseball player with Pop-Pie arms who is not making contact with the baseball is being hampered by those arms or is it something between his ears that’s causing him troubles? We was thinking Uggla might try to take a little off his swing with 2 strikes and put the ball in play especially with runners on. This is like when Francoeur came up again and again and again with runners on and never got them in. Then, finally, Bobby called him back to the dugout when it was his time to bat . . . and he was gone right after that.

Marco Pillow Throwerder

July 27th, 2012
7:27 pm

Make Chipper the new GM and lets trade for Josh Johnson!

J-MAN

July 27th, 2012
7:28 pm

B1 you should change your name to B.O. because your opinion and your insults stink.

fire frank wren

July 27th, 2012
7:28 pm

too late grienke to angels…cause wren would not give up a crap prospect in tehran…yeah let’s wait 5 years for him to be league ready

fire frank wren

July 27th, 2012
7:29 pm

frank wren needs to be fired no one wants to come to the braves…..with hi and fredi at the helm

fire frank wren

July 27th, 2012
7:29 pm

frank wren = biggest idiot gm in the game

Marco Pillow Throwerder

July 27th, 2012
7:30 pm

Wren scours the dumpsters for castoff pitching like Batista whose older than Chipper.

"Chef" Tim Dix

July 27th, 2012
7:31 pm

Adam Wainwright would have been nice to have…All of these years… Not against trading prospects for proven value but unless, UNLESS you sign ZG it is not going to vault this squad in the World Series.

Marco Pillow Throwerder

July 27th, 2012
7:31 pm

If Angels got Grienke fire Wren the slacker!

Wrecker

July 27th, 2012
7:31 pm

J-Man, I am not apathetic. I am excited about the chance to make the playoffs. If the season ended today, we would be in a one-game wild card playoff.

B1

July 27th, 2012
7:32 pm

obviously, no real fans here, we didn’t want greinke…you guys are out of touch. go back to your church softball teams, ok?