Posts Tagged ‘Frank Wren’

Did Falcons just take lead over Braves in title pursuit? (Update: Phillies get Pence)

Mike Smith: Thomas Dimitroff may have just given you the key to a title.

Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff just moved closer to a title.

(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

Can Frank Wren get help for the Braves?

Can Frank Wren get help for Fredi Gonzalez and Braves?

are determined.

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 …

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As Braves talk trade (Pence?), Ross says ‘We need a piece’

Teams like the aggressive Hunter Pence but Phillies may have edge on Braves.

Teams like the aggressive Hunter Pence (sliding) but Phillies may have an edge on Braves.

Good morning. No trades yet.

The pursuit of Houston outfielder Hunter Pence by several teams, including the Braves and Philadelphia, is what’s creating a logjam in the trade market, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. From his latest blog (which requires an Insider subscription).

…  It is clear that right now, [Pence] has the greatest market value of any available player. The Astros’ initial instinct seemed to be to play conservative and hang onto him, but they probably will never again get the kind of offers they’re getting for Pence — the Phillies’ package of pitcher Jarred Cosart and first baseman Jonathan Singleton, or Atlanta’s offer, which presumably includes young pitchers they would not consider trading for Carlos Beltran. For the Braves, the stakes are high, because they already are faced with a postseason in which they may have to face Beltran, and now their most …

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What’s stopping Braves, Wren from trading a pitcher?

Are Braves overvaluing pitching prospects like Mike Minor? (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Are Braves overvaluing pitching prospects like Mike Minor? (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

I’m going to refrain from excessive bashing of Braves general manager Frank Wren — maybe just a few jabs — until we see what (if anything) he does between now and the major league trade deadline.

But I do have one question: How much pitching does one franchise need?

The Braves apparently lost out to San Francisco in the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes in part because Wren was not willing to part with a top pitching prospect, like Mike Minor.

Should Braves have traded a pitching prospect for Carlos Beltran?

  • Yes. He would’ve made a difference.
  • No. He’s not worth it.

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It’s common in pro sports for teams to overvalue their own prospects. We know the Braves’ success since the 1990s has been built on pitching. The organization has done a wonderful job developing young arms. But dealing a pitcher for a player (like Beltran) who potentially can put a team over the top …

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Braves or Falcons: Who’s taking bigger risk minus big move?

"So Chipper: What do you think we should do before the trade deadline?"

"So Chipper: What do you think we should do before the trade deadline?"

Over the next few days, how the Braves and Falcons are viewed could change significantly. Or not at all. Here’s the question: Which team would be taking the bigger risk by doing nothing?

The breakdown:

♦ Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline is Sunday. The feeling here is that the Braves need to do something.

Which team in greater need of a move?

  • Braves.
  • Falcons.
  • Neither. Both will be fine.

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I wasn’t completely convinced of this. But when center fielder Jordan Schafer’s finger injury turned out to be a slight bone chip and not just a sprain, and Chipper Jones tweaked his quadriceps in his first game back from a knee injury, it raised the level of concern. Adding Carlos Beltran to the rotation of outfielders — he can play center or right field, possibly in a platoon with the struggling Jason Heyward — would be huge. I know some are pushing for Houston’s Hunter …

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Braves have chance to deal for Carlos Beltran? Do it now

The Braves have a chance to acquire a difference-maker in Carlos Beltran. (AP photo)

If the Braves don't swing a trade for Carlos Beltran, he could end up in San Francisco or Philadelphia. (AP photo)

Before you shoot down the idea of the Braves trading a top pitching prospect like Mike Minor to rent Carlos Beltran for two months, consider this: He could be the difference in the them winning the National League East Division. And the pennant. And the World Series.

Beltran, who’s in the final year of his contract with the New York Mets, has been connected to seemingly every playoff contender in baseball’s rumor mill. But ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that there are only five legitimate pursuers right now: The Braves, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston and Texas. He pegs the Braves as the favorites.

There’s also a school of thought that Beltran, who has a no-trade clause, prefers to be traded to a National League team. In other words, if the Braves don’t get Beltran, one of their two biggest competitors –  the Phillies or Giants — just might.

Beltran obviously …

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Dealing Lowe is risky but it may be Braves’ best option

The Braves mob (and douse) Freddie Freeman after the rookie's game-winning hit Sunday. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

The Braves mob (and douse) Freddie Freeman after his game-winning hit. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Alex Gonzalez brought the handfuls of dirt. Peter Moylan brought the cups of water. Everybody else just pounded Freddie Freeman into a celebratory submission and Baptism following his first career game-winning hit Sunday.

A win over the Washington Nationals normally wouldn’t seem like a cause for such a celebration, but these haven’t come easy. The Braves had to scramble and rally twice to beat a Nationals team that generally has been a punching bag since 2005  (459-607)  but insists on punching back against Atlanta (the all-time series would’ve been tied at 59-59 with a different result Sunday).

But if you’re the Braves, this game was a good sign. They somehow turned an ugly sequence of events — including an improbable poor start by Jair Jurrjens — into a win. They trailed 6-2 before a five-run fifth, punctuated by Brian McCann’s three-run homer. They trailed 8-7 before the .226 …

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Braves’ biggest keys in second half: Health, Dan Uggla

You wouldn't know it from this picture but Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward haven't done a lot of celebrating.

The Braves would be in better shape if Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward had more to celebrate.

Last season they tried to keep advancing, despite enduring exploding parts. There goes an arm. No problem. There goes a leg. Just a limp. There go a couple of organs. Just a flesh wound.

Somebody tore his oblique. Can’t be that serious. Wasn’t it just like a week ago when nobody had ever heard of the oblique?

But eventually, they fizzled. Seven games ahead of Philadelphia a week after the All-Star break, 23 games over .500 and still clinging to a three-game lead on Aug. 1, the Braves’ body finally gave out. Their final spasm got them into the postseason as a wild card. But teams running on fumes don’t win the World Series. The starting lineup in their final loss to San Francisco looked like an old car undergoing some work – some original dinged parts, along with an orange door and two mismatched fenders picked up in a junkyard to make the exterior seem whole.

The Braves open baseball’s …

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Jones’ message: Heyward needs to learn to play with pain

Jason Heyward has sat out 17 games this season will miss several more with shoulder pain.

Jason Heyward has sat out 17 games and he's expected to miss several more. (Curtis Compton)

When a player of significance is injured, it can be a problem for his team. When the player of significance has a lingering injury that doesn’t show up on an X-ray or an MRI, it can be a problem for the player.

This is the gray area where Jason Heyward currently  sits (with an ice bag).

Chipper Jones did not necessarily call out his Braves teammate the other day when he said that Heyward “needs to realize [that] at 80 percent [he’s] a force,” and that, “There are a bunch of his teammates that are out there playing with discomfort and not healthy.”

But that’s about as close as you can come to saying, “Rub some dirt on it.”

Jones is team’s elder statesman. He is one of the clubhouse leaders. He’s also playing with a meniscus tear in his knee. If he says something, there’s a pretty good chance he is not the only one thinking it.

Heyward says he has a sore shoulder. Nobody doubts that. But …

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If Uggla doesn’t turn things around, Braves are sunk

Sometimes it seems like Dan Uggla has been swinging half of a bat. (AP photo)

It seems like Dan Uggla has been swinging half of a bat all season. (AP photo)

When the Braves signed Dan Uggla to a five-year, $62 million extension in January, I didn’t have a big problem with it. True, it was a significant commitment from a team that has been struggling to create some payroll flexibility in recent years. But if Uggla’s next five seasons were similar to his previous five, the investment was worthy.

The problem: Uggla has face-planted. If he doesn’t turn it around, this contract will turn into one of the worst albatrosses in pro sports.

He is hitting .172 through 60 games. Perspective: He would have to add 66 points to his average just to be as good as Nate McLouth (.238). It’s even worse over the last 16 games: Uggla is 5-for-60 (.083) with an on-base percentage of .152.

But the Braves have no options here. The contract extension means Uggla can’t really be benched for an extended period, and he certainly can’t be traded. Sending him to Triple-A Gwinnett, …

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Are Braves affected by transition from Cox to Gonzalez?

Maybe we should've expected a transition period from Bobby Cox to Fredi Gonzalez. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Could the Braves' erratic start have anything to do with an adjustment period from Bobby Cox to Fredi Gonzalez as manager? (Jason Getz/AJC)

After 51 games, or nearly one-third of the way through the season, the Braves have been something less than predictable.

They have winning records against Philadelphia and San Francisco. But they are a combined 4-8 against Washington, Arizona and Los Angeles. They have pitched and defended impressively (No. 2 in the majors in ERA at 2.97, No. 3 in fielding percentage at .988). But they have struggled at the plate, hitting .242 (24th overall) with 377 strikeouts (fifth most), when offense wasn’t expected to be a problem.

Words like flow and rhythm don’t come to mind.

Let’s assume the Braves are still as good as most believed coming into this season. It’s possible that this is nothing more than common early season hiccups, and at some point there will be a market correction.

But could it be that the transition in managers, from Bobby Cox to …

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