As Braves GM, Wren has proven himself to be a blunderer as a PR man, but generally adept at his real job of building a better team. A recap:
- Traded Edgar for JJ and Gorkys. A+
- Chris Woodward granted free agency. Easy call. A+
- Andruw granted free agency. The right call.
- Traded Villarreal for Josh Anderson. Bleh.
- Signed Tommy G. as a free agent. Loved it at the time. Has not worked out. No great loss from a pure baseball standpoint.
- Traded Jose Ascanio to the little bears for Ohman and Infante. A+
- Traded Joey Devine, Jamie Richmond to Oakland for Mark Kotsay. B. Kotsay did what we figured. Devine was pretty good for the A’s last year, but is out for the year now.
- Traded Willy Aybar and someone to the Rays for Jeff Ridgway. C. Aybar’s been good in Tampa, but Wren had to move the guy. Ridgway was awful.
- Traded a player TBN (Nelson Payano) to the Mariners for Greg Norton. He got some big pinch hits last year. B.
- Shipped Teshowmethemoney to Cali for Kotchman and Stephen Marek. B-. What else could he do? A salvage move after JS’s mistake.
- Corky Miller granted free agency.
- Ohman let go. Hasn’t hurt as much as we thought it would. Thank you, Eric O’Flaherty.
- Picked O’Flaherty off waivers from Seattle. B+
- Traded Tyler Flowers, Lil Britches and a couple minor minor leaguers to White Sox for Boone Logan and Javy Vazquez. So far, so good. A
- Signed back-up catcher Dave Ross. Huge upgrade over Dorky. B (Can’t get an A for signing a No. 2 catcher.)
- Smoltz goes to Boston. PR disaster. Not a huge loss in purely baseball terms. Still, a D
- Signed Derek Lowe. A, so far anyway.
- Signed Glavine again. In retrospect, should not have done this. D
- Signed Garret Anderson. C
- Cut Tommy G. Right move for the team, baseball-wise. Sad for the fans, nonetheless. All in all, C.
- Traded Charlie Morton, Gorkys and Locke to the Pirates for McLouth. B+
- Promoted T. Hanson. A
As for a few moves he didn’t make. We didn’t trade top propects and/or Yunel for Peavy. I prefer having Lowe, Yesco, Hanson, et al. As bland as he’s been, I still think I’d rather have GA than Griffey. We can quibble about not signing Abreu, but the McLouth deal more than makes up for that.
So, Wren has really not made a bad baseball move. Time will be the true judge, but to date, Wren has been a good to excellent GM in terms of his core job. As a keeper of the image and the Old Braves Club, he’s failed. If he had to fail at one or the other, I’ll take that. As Rankin Rob said, it’s business when players sign contracts. Sad for us, yes, when something like Tommy G.’s unceremonious release happens. Nonetheless, cold reality is when you pay employees millions a year, they live with it.