Melky’s gone, which tells us much about the Braves and Wren

"As long as I'm managing, you're on this team, Melky." (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

"As long as I'm managing, you're on this team, Melky." (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Sooner or later we’ll start to ask ourselves, “How in the world did the 2010 Braves make the playoffs?” And I’m thinking that time is …

Right about now.

The Braves dumped Melky Cabrera and Takashi Saito on Tuesday, eight days after the former had made the 27th out of Game 4 of the Division Series. These were two of the bigger acquisitions Frank Wren made last winter — others were Billy Wagner, who has retired; Troy Glaus, who had nothing left after July, and Eric Hinske, who kept pinch-hitting home runs — and now they’ve been tossed aside.

The Saito move was expected. The Cabrera one was expected if you’d watched him play. And that’s kind of the point: The 2010 Braves had a lot of guys who didn’t do much — Cabrera, Nate McLouth, Yunel Escobar, Matt Diaz, Rick Ankiel, Glaus in April and August and September — and lots more who got hurt. And somehow they qualified for the postseason, same as the Phillies and the Yankees.

To say that every Wren move of the last offseason and this regular season panned out would be incorrect. Most of them didn’t. But the sum total of his tinkering was just enough to bleed out one more victory than San Diego, and that was enough. We can critique individual trades and signings, but we cannot carp about the overall effect. This team shouldn’t have been good enough, but it was, just.

Which is why the guy who traded Javier Vazquez for Melky Cabrera should be named executive of the year. Seriously.

468 comments Add your comment

Chris

October 20th, 2010
8:57 am

BravesAreDone

October 20th, 2010
9:00 am

Well when you can’t spend any money then of course a lot of the moves won’t pan out… if only the owners would spend a bit and let Wren run things then it could be a darn good team.

Mark Bradley

October 20th, 2010
9:00 am

Kudos, Chris.

Chris

October 20th, 2010
9:01 am

Time to take the next step and find a true diamond worth the money…Not sure that Werth or Crawford are worth more than $15 million. Maybe, Matt Kemp would be available via trade? He wanted out earlier.

deb

October 20th, 2010
9:01 am

Where are all the Phillies trolls now? And how can we find them on their blogs?

Hankie Aron

October 20th, 2010
9:02 am

Wren should be executive of the year. I am still baffled how we ever got to the playoffs. The pitching just carried us with a sprinkling of hit here and there.

Martin the Calvinist

October 20th, 2010
9:02 am

Boy, I hope we are smart enough to keep Hinske around. He really is an asset to this team. I think Diaz had a bad year, I think we need to keep him around. I’m afraid we are stuck with McLouth for another year though……..

matt_t

October 20th, 2010
9:04 am

WHAT UP FRANK

RomeDawg

October 20th, 2010
9:06 am

I remember in the good ‘ol days when we needed a big bat we went and plucked the best one off the free agent market or traded for one. Every move seemed like a blockbuster. Now we have to settle for the Melky’s of the world. I miss the ’90’s.

Atleast we still got good pitching like back in the day.

BW

October 20th, 2010
9:07 am

Mark

The question as it always is…will Liberty spend money to acquire some real players to fill holes? Obviously they’re not going to spend like the Yankees, who are down 3-1 for their trouble, but you just cannot run the outfield of this past year out there ever again. Get a real left fielder and center fielder. Chipper has a year more left in him at most so hopefully the organization has it covered. I’m encouraged about our young pitchers and Freeman and Heyward. Get those two guys and McCann some reliable bats and we’ll be ok.

lojak777

October 20th, 2010
9:07 am

Mark, possible that the Braves talk to Chipper about defering say 10 mil of his upcoming salary? He is holding us up, waiting till spring training till we know for sure that he’s still got it. If we wait until then, most or all of the great free agents hitters will be gone. Hell, he doesn’t need the money–now anyway !! Your thoughts

jimmymack

October 20th, 2010
9:08 am

adam dunn would look good in a braves uniform.i hope hinske stay’s and medlin get’s well

NC Dawg

October 20th, 2010
9:08 am

Kemp needs out of that LA scene…if he still wants to play ball and produce.

Hankie Aron

October 20th, 2010
9:09 am

Mark,
It should be an interesting winter to see what trade moves he makes next. Jurrjens? Arodys Vizcaino? Certainly not Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado. Maybe Derek Lowe might be more tradeable now but his contract still owes 30 million over the next 2 years. They have got to find a way to bring an outfield big bopper to Atlanta somehow some way

2L

October 20th, 2010
9:11 am

why are we all still hating on the vasquez trade? Melky sucks, but we got Dunn and Viscainno in that trade. Those were the real key pieces. If memory serves, Vazquez sucked this year.

And Colby Rasmus isnt enough….lets shoot for hunter pence.

Chef Mentuer

October 20th, 2010
9:11 am

Braves r gonna suk next year

Kevin

October 20th, 2010
9:13 am

No one is discussing the change that will have the biggest impact. Removing Terry Pendleton has the hitting coach. Terry was the anti Leo Mazzone. Decent hitters would come to Atlanta and have some of their worst years.

Dog Bark

October 20th, 2010
9:13 am

The Braves got more than Melky in the deal Mark.

Volmania21

October 20th, 2010
9:14 am

The Braves and Frank Wren are retarded to get rid of Hinskie, all the guy ever did is come up “CLUTCH” in every situation possible. Thats why it’s hard to be a Braves fan. Keep the guys who don’t produce and dump the ones who do. Makes a whole lot of sense, right!!

Hankie Aron

October 20th, 2010
9:15 am

It still pains me to see Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz out there for the Rangers knowing we rented Teixieira for half a season before the Yankees dropped the treasure chest on his head

dean

October 20th, 2010
9:15 am

If not for some steel gloves in the NLDS, the Braves are playing the Phillies right now.

Lowcountry Bulldawgs

October 20th, 2010
9:16 am

You cannot argue the points you have made. Wren put together a group of ragtag veterns and made it work. Now all that is left is for Wren to convince Chipper to retire and free the cash up to sign a bat. If Chipper heads into Spring Training gives it a try and then elects to retire it does the organization no good at that point.

dean

October 20th, 2010
9:17 am

Hey Deb. Philly.com. Enjoy!

JDHGT

October 20th, 2010
9:17 am

We really just need one bat. McLouth would be fine as the 8th hitter (he’s a good LF or CF). If you can get a solid bat, this lineup would look pretty good come April:

1. Prado
2. Heyward
3. Chipper
4. McCann
5. Freeman
6. Infante
7. ONE MORE BAT
8. McLouth

lojak777

October 20th, 2010
9:17 am

Lowcountry—read my entry from earlier. I’m with you, but how about getting chipper to defer much of his salary. That solves our problem !!

Hankie Aron

October 20th, 2010
9:18 am

agreed lowcountry. It would waste any potential money that could be used if he shows up in spring training and finds he just doesn’t want to go through another season

Bama Brave

October 20th, 2010
9:18 am

The braves need two things. 1. A lead off hitter. 2. A solid left or center fielder. And hes name is Carl Crawford. Oh yeah not to mention he has SPEED! something OUR team dont have. And yes he will cost. But we will have the money to give him. We gave lowe close to 15 mil and how old was he when we signed him.

JDHGT

October 20th, 2010
9:19 am

Ooops…that’s supposed to say Gonzalez…not Infante…

Bahozak

October 20th, 2010
9:21 am

While “Vazquez for Melky” sounds bad, the truth is that trade was great for ATL.

1. The Braves rotation was excellent anyway
2. Javy pitched poorly, and Melky played like Melky – which is to say poorly – making this a wash
3. The Braves got prospects, namely Mr. Vizcaino
4. The Braves saved some cash

This trade goes in the “win” column for Frank. And, yes, he should be Executive of the Year.

JMF

October 20th, 2010
9:21 am

The issue is are we committed to win. If so then we have to eat the McLousey contract and play Infante at ss. Gonzalez is only a .240 hitter. With a decent centerfielder, a healthy Chipper and the pitching staff we are a serious contender.

Lowcountry Bulldawgs

October 20th, 2010
9:23 am

lojak,

I agree with you aswell, simply differ the money. I am fine with another season with Chipper, but certainly not in the three hole as was posted above. He is now a five hitter at best. The three hole is designed for your best hitter and is a run producing spot, not someone who is a walk machine, with little power left in the tank.

Mark Bradley

October 20th, 2010
9:24 am

I know the Braves got more than Cabrera in the deal. They got Arodys Vizcaino and Mike Dunn. The Yankees got Boone Logan, who yielded Josh Hamilton’s homer last night.

Tim

October 20th, 2010
9:24 am

Let’s be real. We didn’t trade Javier Vazquez for Melky. We traded him for Vizcaino and Dunn and got Melky thrown in to sweeten the deal.

Also, I believe the Saito move wasn’t just expected, but contractually required.

I understand that this is ultimately a blog…basically an editorial of sorts. And ultimately I think that your point is spot on regarding Frank Wren, but no need to gloss (Glaus?) over some of the facts to prove it.

SadDawg

October 20th, 2010
9:25 am

I agree, Mark, just please don’t call the trade, “Javier Vazquez for Melky Cabrera.”

Dunn and Vizcaino alone were more than worth the trade. Consider Melky a throw-in.

Take a poll for Yankee fans to see how they feel about the trade . . .

Don

October 20th, 2010
9:26 am

Everyone apparently is assuming that the Braves Pitching is going to be great next season – which I do not quite understand.
The Braves just have TWO really good bets (Hudson and Hanson) to be outstanding Starting Pitchers and then QUESTION MARKS for the remaning THREE starting positions. Medlin is injured and out and will not be effectve for at least next season. JJ’s knee injury may be a minor thing, but he has never been dependable/effective like he was in his first year – ever since his SHOULDER injury. Lowe who is old and will be a year older – who knows if you will have the Lowe of September or the Lowe of most of the rest of the season or worse. Minor and the other rookies may be promising but they are unproven.
The Pitching may be good, but it could be a huge, huge problem.

JDHGT

October 20th, 2010
9:31 am

Don,

The pitching could be a problem, but that’s pretty much the case with any staff. I can only think of two or three teams that wouldn’t trade pitching staffs with the Braves….

Ben

October 20th, 2010
9:31 am

Mark, any chance the braves dump chipper to free up money or is he coming back for sure

dean

October 20th, 2010
9:35 am

“..dump chipper..”

You don’t “dump” a Hall of Famer. Release maybe. But “dump”? Never.

ArkyTech

October 20th, 2010
9:37 am

Braves also netted $8M in the Vazquez deal.

Andy

October 20th, 2010
9:37 am

Melky for Vazquez? Are you serious Mark? I really hope you’re just trying to stir the pot, and not being serious, because any real Braves fan would tell you that Melky was the third priority of the three players the Braves received, and was probably done only to offset some of the salary the Yankees took on for Vazquez. Calling that trade Melky for Vazquez insults both your Braves intelligence and Frank Wren himself.

Saying that most of Wren’s trades didn’t work out but we got to the playoffs anyways doesn’t make a strong argument for Executive of the Year, that’s where you argue for Manager of the Year for Bobby. But whatever you say, Bradley.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley and eric thompson, Zach Mishoe. Zach Mishoe said: RT @MarkBradleyAJC: Melky Cabrera's gone, which tells us a lot about the '10 Braves and GM Frank Wren. (In a good way!) http://bit.ly/995OCZ [...]

deb

October 20th, 2010
9:38 am

Mark, can Wren find us a Cody Ross without giving up an arm and a leg, or should I say many arms?

TheAntiMe

October 20th, 2010
9:39 am

Where are all the Phillies trolls now? And how can we find them on their blogs?

Here you go, deb. Just copy and paste:

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/20101020_Phil_Sheridan__Phils_won_t_go_further_without_their_bats.html

Big Bubba

October 20th, 2010
9:39 am

Is Gonzalez under contract for two more years or just next year? Who’s are best ss prospect in the minors?

deb

October 20th, 2010
9:41 am

Thanks for the links guys! I want to see them crying in their wheaties and making excuses.

Mark Bradley

October 20th, 2010
9:41 am

Chipper’s coming back for sure.

The Walrus

October 20th, 2010
9:42 am

Don, with the way Hudson pitched down the stretch this season I’m a little concerned with him as well.

Jesse Stone

October 20th, 2010
9:45 am

Mark, do you think Wren will settle for Milton Bradley? He and Eric Wedge didn’t get along in Cleveland.

Lowcountry Bulldawgs

October 20th, 2010
9:45 am

Mark,

In your honest opinion, how do you feel about Chipper returning? If you were Frank Wren what would you think of his return?

Mark Bradley

October 20th, 2010
9:46 am

I don’t think the Braves will touch Milton Bradley (no relation).