Posts Tagged ‘Frank Wren’

Braves’ spring warm-up: 5 concerns, starting with Heyward

Jason Heyward hopes to rebound in year three. (AP photo)

Can Braves' Jason Heyward rebound in Year 3? (AP photo)

(Updated: 5 p.m.)

It wasn’t my intention to spend another day analyzing the Braves until I actually arrived on site in Florida at Camp Please Don’t Fold This Season. (Pitchers and catchers report Sunday. The balance of the squad and columnists with non-guaranteed contracts report a week from Friday).

But because there is absolutely nothing else worth discussing these days, especially given the depressing local college basketball landscape, here we go.

I’m on the record as believing the Braves did not need to make a significant move this past winter, despite last season’s collapse. Nor did I expect them to. Despite all rumors to the contrary, their two most likely tradeable assets, Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado, both were coming off injuries. General manager Frank Wren no doubt tried to stir the trade market, but we can assume he never got a reasonable offer (or he would’ve made the deal). Not a shock.

As currently …

Continue reading Braves’ spring warm-up: 5 concerns, starting with Heyward »

Braves’ collapse doesn’t mean they need big trade

The Braves' collapse last season through Fredi Gonzalez and Frank Wren for a loop. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Fredi Gonzalez and Frank Wren remain baffled by last season's collapse. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Over the past few days, we have seen the Value City of major league franchises, the Miami Marlins, spend $191 million on three free agents and the Los Angeles Angels give Albert Pujols a contract ($254 million) that exceeds the gross national product of several small countries.

Meanwhile, the Braves have done nothing. They may continue to do nothing, or at least very little.

And that’s OK.

I know. You want a splash. Everybody loves a splash. Splashes are a fan’s barometer for knowing that an owner cares as much as they do. But splashes aren’t always wise, and the Braves are a perfect example.

It has been two months since their collapse was complete. There’s a lingering hangover from blowing a 10½-game lead for the wild-card spot in roughly a month and missing the playoffs. (The team passing them, St. Louis, went on to win the World Series.) The Fredi Gonzalez bandwagon flipped over. …

Continue reading Braves’ collapse doesn’t mean they need big trade »

Lowe aside, Braves’ offseason may lack major moves

Frank Wren's next move will be lower profile than the Derek Lowe signing.

Frank Wren and Derek Lowe did not have a news conference to say goodbye. (Brant Sanderlin)

The St. Louis Cardinals made the playoffs on the final day of the season only because the Braves collapsed, but won the World Series. So there’s a school of thought that maybe if the Braves had won just one more game during that 10-20 stretch and won the wild card spot, they also could have won it all.

Maybe. But probably not.

Which leads to this question: Do the Braves need to make a major move this offseason?

General manager Frank Wren made the right decision dealing pitcher Derek Lowe to Cleveland so early. With the trade of Lowe to Cleveland (which will pay $5 million of his $15 million contract) and the $1.25 million buyout of Nate McLouth (instead of a $10.65 million option year salary), Wren has a better idea of his budget long before baseball’s winter meetings Dec. 5-8.

But to do something major would necessitate moving a major player out of the starting lineup. That’s probably …

Continue reading Lowe aside, Braves’ offseason may lack major moves »

Braves had to cut their losses and dump Derek Lowe

Derek Lowe was 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA this season. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Derek Lowe was 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA this season. (Jason Getz/AJC)

(UPDATED: 7:40 p.m.)

You can always tell how much a team wants to get rid of a player by how big of a financial hit it is willing to absorb from his contact. The Braves basically just announced: “Feel free to drop that concrete block on our heads — just take Derek Lowe off of our hands.”

It’s done: Lowe is gone.

Lowe, with one year and $15 million left on his ridiculous four-year, $60 million contract, has been traded to the Cleveland Indians for minor-league pitcher Chris Jones. An official announcement is forthcoming.

The Braves reportedly will get a low-level minor-leaguer in return. But this was really all about getting: 1) Lowe, a fallen former starter, out of the rotation and out of the clubhouse; 2) the Indians being willing to pay $5 million of Lowe’s salary next year.

Lowe wasn’t the worst free agent signing in Braves history. For that, he can thank Kenshin Kawakami. And he actually was a solid …

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It won’t be easy for Braves to turn fans back into believers

Fredi Gonzalez and Frank Wren should understand Braves just created a lot of doubt about the future. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Fredi Gonzalez and Frank Wren have a lot of damage to overcome. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

This has been, as a general rule, a pro sports market of misery and hangovers, not celebrations and … well, hangovers.

The Falcons lost an NFL playoff game in 1980, and it evolved into some perceived mutant voodoo curse for the next two decades. The Hawks last won an NBA title in an era of canvas high tops (1957-58), and when they were based in St. Louis. The NHL – two teams, come and gone (the first winning a Stanley Cup after it moved to Calgary).

Even when the Braves’ lone World Series title in 1995 is referenced, it’s usually with some verbal slap about 13 other Octobers when the team fell flat, fell short or outright imploded (1996 vs. the Yankees)?

It’s for that reason that Fredi Gonzalez, Frank Wren, Terence McGuirk and the corporate weasel owner behind the curtain should be aware of something: This city-wide vitriol that they’re hearing, seeing and feeling in the aftermath of a …

Continue reading It won’t be easy for Braves to turn fans back into believers »

Braves reverse field, make right call firing Larry Parrish

Larry Parrish

Larry Parrish

(UPDATED: 5 p.m.)

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had said Thursday that his entire coaching staff would be back, including hitting coach Larry Parrish. Either he changed his mind or somebody changed it for him.

The Braves announced Friday that Parrish will not be back after one horrible season. Who ever made the decision — Gonzalez or general manager Frank Wren — it was the correct one.

Fredi Gonzalez

Fredi Gonzalez

Wren’s name, but not Gonzalez’, is on the news release, which was emailed at 3:40 p.m.

According to our David O’Brien, Wren met with Parrish Thursday afternoon and made the decision to fire him after no being satisfied with Parrish’s answers.

Parrish’s biography was immediately removed from the team’s website.

Somebody needed to be held accountable for the Braves’ going 10-20 down the stretch of the season and missing the playoffs.

There was no excuse for the Braves’ offensive woes for much of this season. It can be debated just how much blame or credit a hitting …

Continue reading Braves reverse field, make right call firing Larry Parrish »

Poll: Who should get most blame for Braves’ collapse?

Here's two of your biggest targets: Derek Lowe and Fredi Gonzalez. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Here's two of your biggest targets: Derek Lowe and Fredi Gonzalez. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

I write this knowing that there’s still a very good chance the Braves (with Tim Hudson on the mound) will win tonight’s game against Philadelphia (which starts Joe Blanton) and at least force a one-game playoff for the wild card spot Thursday in St. Louis.

I write this knowing that if the Braves get into the playoffs, strange things have been known to happen in postseasons. And, seriously, it’s not like either potential divisional opponent, Milwaukee or Arizona, is some indestructible force.

Who should get most blame for Braves’ collapse?

  • Frank Wren
  • Fredi Gonzalez
  • Larry Parrish
  • Derek Lowe
  • Dan Uggla
  • Jason Heyward
  • Martin Prado
  • Brian McCann

View Results

Loading ... Loading …

But as the Braves drag a four-game losing streak and 10-19 record over the past five weeks into the Phillies game, here’s the question: Who’s to blame for this collapse?

I’ve got my own …

Continue reading Poll: Who should get most blame for Braves’ collapse? »

Braves are fizzling in a season that has never felt right

Can any more meetings solve the Braves' problems, starting with Derek Lowe?

Can any more meetings solve the Braves' problems, starting with Derek Lowe?

(Updated: 11:40 p.m.)

Maybe it was the raised expectations that followed the Dan Uggla trade, or maybe it was the euphoria of an anticipated lineup with Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman (the cover of Sports Illustrated!), or maybe it was just the Braves’ return to the playoffs last season that got us all drunk.

But something has been off all season.

Braves general manager Frank Wren said Tuesday, “For most of the season we had the third or fourth best record in baseball, and one of the best pitching staffs.” And that may be true. But there never has been a sense of rhythm to the season. It seems like something always has gone wrong, whether it was Dan Uggla’s half season of whiffs, or Heyward’s post-injury mutant swing, or Martin Prado devolving from all-everything to everything’s-a-struggle, to Derek Lowe — well, let’s not even get started on Derek Lowe — to the injuries to the suddenly …

Continue reading Braves are fizzling in a season that has never felt right »

Can Braves’ rotation survive with Beachy as a key?

Brandon Beachy was a luxury as No. 5 starter. Now he's indespensable. (AP photo)

Brandon Beachy was a luxury as No. 5 starter. Now he's indispensable. (AP photo)

(Updated: 11:44 p.m.)

Let’s start with the really good news about the Braves’ starting rotation.

Tim Hudson has looked relatively bionic in the past two months. Brandon Beachy has been far north of a rookie who wasn’t expected to be more than a fifth starter this season. Derek Lowe: Not awful again.

And even with Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson suddenly incapacitated, the Braves would have to lose, like, 27 more pitchers to a swarm of flesh-eating gnats from Neptune before they would even consider calling up Kenshin Kawakami (presumably the owner of the only Maserati in Pearl, Miss.)

But are you feeling just a little uncomfortable? General manager Frank Wren spends weeks trying to improve the team’s once struggling and dented lineup, spins a trade for Michael Bourn, makes a few other deals. Dan Uggla rises from a $62 million pile of ashes, everybody gets healthy, the lineup starts hitting – …

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LIVE: Braves get Michael Bourn, now hope that’s enough

Welcome, Michael Bourn. You're now in a playoff race. (AP photo)

The Braves finally made a catch before the trade deadline: Welcome, Michael Bourn. (AP photo)

(UPDATED: 1:45 p.m. Folks, here’s the updated blog on the trade. I’m read to chat live now about the deal and the game. Sorry couldn’t get to earlier questions and comments but I’ve been kinda busy.)

It was the eve of the trade deadline, and Jordan Schafer was having trouble sleeping.

“I just had a weird feeling,” he said Sunday. “It’s something I hadn’t felt all along. I even sent a text message to my agent. I told him I thought I might be traded. He said, ‘No, there’s no chance.’”

And then he opened his phone to show a reporter the text message: “10:57 p.m. ‘Wonder if I’m going to Houston.’”

Sometimes, it’s not so great to be a prophet.

The Braves dealt Schafer to Houston Sunday. They made the move less because of what they believe Schafer might be one day than what he isn’t  now: Michael Bourn. After dealing Schafer and three prospects to Houston for Bourn, …

Continue reading LIVE: Braves get Michael Bourn, now hope that’s enough »