FW enters his walk year

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.

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10 Comments on FW enters his walk year

  1. roadrunner48 // December 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm //

    If I owned the team, I’d sign him to a lifetime contract. People can piss and moan about him, but those that do tend not to have been following the team when we had people like Eddie Robinson at the helm.

  2. That’s holding him to a low standard, no? If judged on results, Wren’s record is mixed. Signing B.J. to a 5-year deal and Uggla to a five-year extension were not slam dunks, but questionable judgement calls. And I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the team needs a regime not led by JS.

  3. We’ve had some amazing prospects come through the system during his tenure and I’ve never felt like we got the bad end of a trade (McLouth aside).

    That said I would like to see him stick around. He’s one of the better GMs in the league. Someone else would definitely give him a GM job.

    If we do move on I would like to see Capolella get a shot at the job.

  4. I’m wondering what John Hart’s role is supposed to be. Is he here to help Wren, or possibly replace him?

  5. If signing Uggla and BJ were judgment calls, it’s hard to place blame on Wren. Both of them fell hard (much harder than their career averages) after coming to ATL. I don’t think Wren should be held accountable for Uggla’s and BJ’s terrible on-field performance. However, he should be accountable for not signing our young guys.

  6. Wren shouldn’t be blamed for BJ hitting .180, but it was still a ridiculous contract to give a guy who was already basically a .240 hitter with moderate power and lots of K’s. As far as Uggla, he was coming off his career best year, but has been a complete mystery since he has been in ATL. I can’t expect Wren to have predicted that one…

  7. But that’s his job, tbone82. Anyone could rationalize a trade by saying he was great the year before. I’m not saying there were a lot of people predicting the kind of nosedives taken by Uggla and B.J., but you have to project ahead. Every major signing has been a disaster so far. If Wren’s not accountable for that, then who?

  8. Andrelton the Giant // December 6, 2013 at 5:21 pm //

    Agreed wuky and tbone82. Wren’s trade record has been very good, but his extension record with homegrown players has been exactly nothing as far as I can remember.
    However, to blame him for Uggla being a bust is nothing but armchair quarterbacking. Uggla’s numbers were very consistent every year of his major league career before his tenure with the Braves, and on top of that he seemed to have a knack for hitting at Turner Field (lifetime .900 OPS against Atlanta). What better veteran candidate was there to lock up after 2010? Perhaps the length of the extension could be argued against, but there was no reason to think he would fall so hard so fast. Anyone can scorn the timing of the extension, but had Uggla’s fall started this past season instead of immediately upon his arrival, and we had two years of a guy with around an .850 OPS at 2nd base, I think most of us would have accepted the deal. If anyone is at fault for the timing of the fall, I would hold Uggla accountable, though in his defense I’ve read and heard nothing but positive things about his attitude and preparation in the clubhouse.
    BJ’s contract scares me, I have to admit. I would rather have traded a top prospect or two for a controllable, cheaper alternative like Fowler.

  9. I had no problem with the Uggla trade, but the 5-year extension was unnecessary. Muscled-up middle infielders with long swings don’t age well.

  10. roadrunner48 // December 6, 2013 at 6:15 pm //

    I agree about the extension. At the time of the signing, I think the general consensus was that he’d start to suck at year four.

    Anyway, I don’t think I’m holding him to a low standard at all. His trades have been, for the most part, excellent. He gets rid of players at the right time. He doesn’t make mistakes about the players he lets walk away. He has a sharp eye for talent and acquires it without giving up much. He has built a strong farm system. For a mid market team, these are essential attributes for a GM. And few out there have them. Look around. You won’t find many as shrewd as FW.

    Back in the good old days, we had no problem retaining our stars at home town discounts. I credit Bobby Cox for that. I don’t get the sense that Freeman and Heyward are Fredi men. We’ll need a new manager to lock these guys up. Maddux (Greg) could get them excited. That’s the kind of bold move that would make even you a believer, atlmalconent,

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