Rating the GM’s: Frank Wren
FW will mark his fifth anniversary as Braves GM this October. During that time he’s established a reputation as an outstanding dealmaker, acquiring JJ, Omar Infante (who he later turned for Dan Uggla) and Michael Bourn for very little. But his record on free agent signings and hires has been spotty at best. And while it’s too early to judge, the Braves received low marks for the last couple of drafts.
A year-by-year look at the Wren years:
Signed Tom Glavine. A popular move but not the best use of $7 mil, especially when you consider the way it ended. PR doesn’t really figure into this eval, but I think we can agree FW gets an ‘F’ there.
Traded Renteria and Jose Ascanio for JJ, Gorkys Hernandez, Omar Infante and Will Ohman. A ++
Signing Corky Miller, releasing Brayan Pena. Seems like a minor transaction, but Pena was an outstanding clubhouse guy and, most importantly, a stabilizing influence on Yesco. Pena has been a decent backstop with the Royals while Corky may have been the worst Brave ever.
Traded Tex for Marek and Kotchman. Would’ve been better off with the draft picks that could’ve potentially netted Mike Trout and Tyler Skaggs, two of the best prospects in baseball.
Traded Tyler Flowers, Brent Lillibridge, Jon Gilmore and Santos Rodriguez for Javy Vazquez and Boone Logan. Seemed like a lot to give up but none of those Braves prospects have panned out while Javy V. was stellar in ’09.
Signed David Ross; selected Eric O’Flaherty off waivers. Very useful parts acquired for John Malone’s pocket change.
Signed D. Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami. The Lowe signing can be rationalized but, with Vazquez already in the fold and Tommy Hanson nearly ready, KK wasn’t really necessary. The Braves dropped $83 million on the pair and have little to show for it. Thank God A.J. Burnett turned down FW’s offer, which was higher than what the Yanks ended up paying.
Traded Gorkys, Jeff Locke and Charlie Morton for McOut. Looked like a steal at the time but we all know how that turned out. His contract was something of an albatross, too.
Traded Francoeur for Ryan Church. Had to be done. Church offered little but the Lilburn Flash in the Pan had zero trade value at the time.
Dealt Kotchman to Boston for Adam LaRoche. Rochey almost single-handledy vaulted the Bravos into the playoffs in ’09, posting an OPS just shy of 1.000 in 57 games. Kotchman languished on the BoSox bench.
Signed Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito. Risky because of their age but they were more than effective.
Traded Rafael Soriano for Jesse Chavez. Finances dictated this trade but hard to believe the Braves couldn’t have done better.
Sent Javy Vazquez and Logan to the Yanks for Melky, Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino. No one was much happy with this deal at the time but if Arodys is as good as advertised it will be remembered fondly.
Signed Troy Glaus and Eric Hinske. The Braves don’t make the playoffs in 2010 without these two. Excellent value.
Selected Cristhian Martinez off waivers from the Marlins.
Acquired Alex Gonzalez, Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky for Yesco and Jo-Jo Reyes. Yesco had worn out his welcome (could Brayan Pena have prevented it?) so FW wasn’t dealing from a position of strength. I still have my doubts about Pastornicky but if he pans out this will stand as a shrewd move.
Traded Gregor Blanco, Collins and J. Chavez for Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth. If Collins can improve his location the Braves will regret this deal.
Acquired Derrek Lee for three prospects you’ve never heard of and never will. No risk, no reward.
Traded Infante and Dunn to the Fish for Dan Uggla. An absolute steal, and while I have been critical of the five-year extension given to Uggla I’m starting to reconsider after seeing the contracts doled out this winter.
Traded Kyle Cofield for Scott Linebrink. When money is tight you shouldn’t be wasting millions on worn-out middle relievers.
Traded Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens, Juan Abreu and Jordan Schafer for Michael Bourn. Filled the team’s biggest need without giving up any of the franchise’s best prospects. The money should be there to re-sign Bourn though I wouldn’t overpay. I don’t think we have to worry about that happening as long as Liberty’s in charge.
Acquired Matt Diaz for a PTBNL. Not worth mentioning if Diaz had been a free agent, but as it stands the $2 mil Matty D. will receive in 2012 could’ve been put to better use.
Shipped Derek Lowe to Cleveland for Chris Jones. I was amazed FW got the Indians to assume $5 mil of Lowe’s remaining contract.
All told not a bad track record, one that would merit a better grade if not for the Fredi Gonzalez and Larry Parrish hires. TP gets the last laugh, and FW sees his grade docked to:
(More Braves GM ratings here)