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The Braves give GM Frank Wren a contract extenstion

Feb 21, 2011, 2:30 PM EDT

Frank Wren AP

The Braves announced today that they’ve given General Manager Frank Wren a contract extension. He’s now locked up through the 2013 season.

This is not surprising. Wren has the full confidence of ownership and team President John Schuerholz.  Some fans may agitate about various things such as, I dunno, the fact that the Braves haven’t had a full complement of capable outfielders for several years now and the fact that our big moves at the deadline last season was adding Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth, but Wren has likewise avoided handing out crippling deals and has made some decisive moves when the opportunity arose. The Dan Uggla trade is a good example.   And really, his best work has probably been done on the minor league level where the Braves consistently rank near the top of the list in terms of talent in the pipeline.

It’s easy to be critical of the GM when you watch a team play 150+ games a year, but in the big picture, Wren has avoided big missteps and has generally done a good job.  I don’t mean to damn him with faint praise when I say this, but the fact is that a team could do way worse than to have a do-no-harm, occasionally-do-some-good and always do the little things well GM like Wren.

  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Feb 21, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    So long as he doesn’t sign Milton Bradley, he’s okay in my book.

  2. nps6724 - Feb 21, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    Wren is, IMO, a great GM who just doesn’t have the funds to go buy top players like New York, Boston, and Philly. And the Mark Teixeira deal done under John Schuerholz got rid of several guys who would’ve saved the team money instead of having to sign FA SP, which ate up most of the unallocated money. Not to mention having to swap Yunel Escobar for another SS because we no longer had Elvis Andrus.

    The Teixeira deal looks worse and worse every season.

    • PanchoHerreraFanClub - Feb 21, 2011 at 4:33 PM

      Great GMs do great things with what they got, only the Yankees don’t have money concerns. IMO the wheel is still in spin with Wren. He may be a great GM or he may just be average. With Cox gone, we see how good the Braves are without him.

    • Jeremiah Graves - Feb 21, 2011 at 7:07 PM

      The Teix deal was tough.

      At the time, they legitimately felt he was the missing piece to put ’em over the top. Unfortunately, he wasn’t and by the time they realized it they got pennies on the dollar in return and had lost a big part of their minor league system.

      If they had won the World Series with Teix, I think it would be hunky-dory with everyone, I guess that’s just the nature of the game, but at the time, the deal made sense.

  3. Mark - Feb 21, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    He’s very hit and miss. So far it looks like he was awful on McClouth, Yunel Escobar, trading Tex for Kotchman instead of taking the picks, giving Lowe that big contract, signing Garret Anderson and screwing up the Soriano/Wagner stuff last year (ie signing Wagner before Soriano accepted arb and effectively giving up a first on Wagner before he knew if Soriano was sticking around or not and then losing him for nothing…

    What are his good moves? Uggla, Vazquez (both acquiring him and trading him to the Yanks), and Jurrjens?

    I don’t know. Not a particularly great GM but I guess he’s not awful either. Does he deserve credit for the farm, or his scouting team?

    • nps6724 - Feb 21, 2011 at 8:29 PM

      How was he terrible on the Escobar deal? Esco was a malcontent in Atlanta who wasn’t going to last any longer there. And when he went to Toronto, he was hot for 4 games before he fell back down to how he was playing pre-trade. Of his 4 HR and 16 RBI in Toronto, 2 HR and 7 RBI came in those first 4 games. He’s an excellent talent but a headcase. When he’s playing well, you put up with it. But when he isn’t, he’s useless. When his replacement receives a standing ovation from his new teammates before his 1st game, that says a lot about his predecessor. The problem is Schuerholz had already traded away their other top SS prospect for Tex so Atlanta had to get a SS in return. It wasn’t a great deal by any stretch of the imagination, but he made a deal that benefited the club.

      Lowe’s signing I have no problem with, personally. He obviously hasn’t pitched well enough for that money, but few FA SPs do. You have to overpay on the FA market regardless of position (unless you luck up on a low-risk, high-reward deal). And if the Tex deal hadn’t gone down, Wren never has to pay Lowe because Feliz or Harrison (or both) would’ve been prepped to be starters when ’09 rolled around.

      I’ll give you the Tex-for-Kotchman trade. No excuse for not getting more than that for Tex.

      The McLouth trade looked great at the time and most people I think agreed. Thankfully none of the prospects that Pittsburgh received have even been serviceable.

      I also give Wren credit for some of the deals NOT done. The Braves have several top prospect pitchers on the farm and he hasn’t panicked and traded them for a hitter, which I think is a very wise move. In a few years, the Braves could very well have the next Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz-Avery or Halladay-Lee-Oswalt-Hamels.

      • Mark - Feb 21, 2011 at 11:40 PM

        Escobar is significantly better than Gonzalez. Gonzalez overachieved, the guy’s a career 696 OPS hitter with a sub 300 OBP. His defense is good, but that package isn’t worth Yunel. Not only did he sell low on Escobar, but he bought into the nonsense of team chemistry. It’s not a deal that helps Atlanta in the short or long run. I’m more than happy to trade a 32 year old SS for a guy who has been 6th in WAR for SS’s since Escobar debuted in the majors in 2007. To put it in perspective, Escobar’s got nearly the same WAR as Gonzalez, and Gonzalez has been around since the late 90’s. They’re not even close in talent.

        Lowe’s signing has been a slight overpay in the first 2 years, but it’s the next few years where the problems are going to occur. It was a bad deal then, and I don’t expect it to get any better. It’s not like the Braves are hurting for pitching either, and the fact that they can’t spend 12-13 M on an OF is going to hurt them.

        On McLouth – the big reason it’s a loss right now is because they paid so much for replacement level production. While nobody so far has amounted to anything, I think Locke should turn into a useful piece.

        Like I said – I don’t think he’s a particularly good GM, but he isn’t awful. He’s just average.

  4. Tim's Neighbor - Feb 21, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    I think that this is a great extension. Wren is doing all of the “little” things very well.

    I think what he’s done with the minors league system is the most important. He revamped how they ran (scouting, signings, etc) things and the results have been great so far.

    I’ve like the moves he’s made on the big league club and look forward to seeing what he can do with the money from Chipper’s and Lowe’s contracts. You may see it as do-no-harm moves with little upside, but I think that is short-sighted. These do-no-harm moves are great as the team is building it’s farm and not sacrificing the future. They are setting themselves up for a nice, cheap and controlled rotation for the next few years and that is HUGE.

    Granted, I am incredibly biased here.

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