Fredi is not the only member of the Braves’ hierarchy working on the final year of his contract. FW’s contract also expires after this season, though I suspect he’s a safe bet to be extended — unlike many among the team’s young core.
But should he be?
It’s difficult to judge. Under Wren’s leadership, the Braves restocked what had become a barren farm system following the disastrous Tex(as) trade. And he’s made some shrewd deals, acquiring Michael Bourn and Javier Vazquez for almost nothing. He dealt Edgar Renteria at just the right time — ditto with Tommy Hanson. And even though he struggled last season, Justin Upton — owed 28.5 mil over the next two years — is a bargain in this market.
But Wren has also made some well-publicized blunders: Lowe, McLouth, Kawakami, B.J. and, of course, Uggla. Barring a turnaround by B.J., those are five big missteps, ones that a team with tight purse strings can’t afford. One-third of the Braves’ payroll is tied up on two players who hit under .200 last year.
FW should be fighting for his job this offseason. It won’t be easy, and Wren has only himself to blame. If he can dig himself out of the hole he dug — extending at least some of the young core, finding a taker for Uggla — I’d support an extension. If not, perhaps it’s time to find a different voice, one independent from JS, whose retirement is overdue, IMO.