If there was one thing Frank Wren was good at, it was finding useable parts off the scrap heap. Eric O’Flaherty, Aaron Harang, David Carpenter, Anthony Varvaro, David Ross, Eric Hinske and Troy Glaus were among Wren’s reclamation projects that paid off.
Coppy, meanwhile, is the guy who goes to a yard sale and comes home with a dead fern: Alberto Callaspo, Eric Young Jr., Gordon Beckham, Bud Norris, Edwin Jackson, Eric Stults, Ross Detwiler and Emilio Bonifacio.
Nitpicking? Perhaps. But look at what the Brewers have done. They picked up Jonathan Villar for a 24-year-old pitcher yet to advance past Double-A. Eric Thames was signed for three years and $15 mil. Instead of signing a retread like Kurt Suzuki they found catcher Manny Pina, batting .432 in 39 ABs (after a great spring) and traded for Jett Bandy (4 HR in 12 games). Junior Guerra, plucked off waivers, had a 2.81 ERA and 1.126 WHIP in 121 IP last year.
The Cubs rebuild was bolstered by the acquisitions of Jake Arrieta, foundering in Baltimore, for Scott Feldman, and Kyle Hendrix, who was not a big prospect at the time, for Ryan Dempster. The Phils selected Odubel Herrera in the Rule 5 draft.
Sure, there’s some luck involved, but you could say that about any trade or free agent signing. It’s easy to identify the talent of a Dansby Swanson or Max Fried. Finding 15 wins from a Jaret Wright or 30 saves from a Kerry Ligtenberg is much more difficult.