Wren Talks Bourn, Free Agency, Catchers, Hanson

The Braves' season ended in a game that will be remembered for a controversial call last week, as did the likely Hall of Fame career of Chipper Jones. With a feeling that he could only describe as "emptiness," general manager Frank Wren talked with David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the playoffs, his team's upcoming offseason and several of the decisions they'll have to make…

  • Wren suggested that he's not a fan of the Wild Card format and that he'd like to see the system amended to give the Wild Card teams a three-game series, beginning with a day-night double-header.
  • He also said that it's worth revisiting the trade deadline, which Wren feels is "pretty early for the current system." August 15 would be a more logical date for teams to determine whether or not they want to push for the Wild Card, in Wren's estimation.
  • Wren says he's looking forward to a "focused" offseason. The front office recognizes that they have to replace Jones at third base, and they hope to retain Michael Bourn, whose contract expired at season's end. The team would like to address center field and the leadoff position in the same move — a role which Bourn can obviously fill. The Braves contacted Bourn's representatives about an extension in Spring Training but were told to wait until after the season to engage in negotiations.
  • Atlanta would love to have David Ross back in the fold in 2013. Wren spoke very highly of his backup catcher to O'Brien.
  • The Braves chose not to have Brian McCann undergo an MRI with a dye injection during the season because the recovery is too long. McCann will undergo that test in the near future, which could reveal a need for surgery, but for the time being the Braves believe their catcher needs only rest to recover.
  • Jason Heyward could handle center field "for a few days," but Wren and his associates don't view him as a long-term answer in center. Wren said he considers Heyward among the best defensive right fielders in the game and wouldn't want to diminish his defensive value by moving him.
  • The Braves have options on McCann ($12MM), Tim Hudson ($8MM) and Paul Maholm ($6.5MM), and they'll address those decisions in the coming weeks.
  • It would take a "very, very big piece" to trade Randall Delgado or Julio Teheran this winter. The trade market does figure to be in play for the Braves though, as Wren said he won't be "going outrageous salary-wise" on free agents. The team will be "looking for premium players," but Wren cautions they're not looking to add a player to the team as much as they are looking to add value. If they feel that adding two players can give them more than one premium name, they'll pursue that route instead.
  • Jair Jurrjens' situation is different from Tommy Hanson's, in Wren's mind. Wren spoke more definitely of Hanson's future with the team than that of Jurrjens. The Braves "will have a determination" on Jurrjens' future this winter. Jurrjens earned $5.5MM in 2012 and is a non-tender candidate for 2013 in the mind of MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith.
  • Wren confirmed that the entire coaching staff will be offered the opportunity to return to the team.


75 Responses to Wren Talks Bourn, Free Agency, Catchers, Hanson Leave a Reply

  1. Jwick22 3 years ago

    I could see a team that needs a starting catcher going after ross for a short term fix but sure hope the braves can hold on to him

    • RippinNTearinAB 3 years ago

      Defin, must sign for Braves.

      • Guest 3 years ago

        Must sign? No way. He’s been pretty bad since the oblique injury in Aug. 2011, hitting about .225 since then. He has the shoulder injury now. It’s concerning. Picking up his option is a no-brainer, but they shouldn’t extend him now. Wait and see what he does next year ( hopefully without a reoccurring injury).

        • RippinNTearinAB 3 years ago

          We are talking about David Ross.

          • Guest 3 years ago

            oops. Been all over the place today… yes Ross is a must sign

          • East Coast Bias 3 years ago

            Seems everyone’s getting names mixed up today huh? =P

  2. lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

    I can’t imagine the braves don’t pick up Mccann’s option. But has there been any talk of that?

    • DerangedAngry Hilbilly 3 years ago

      If his shoulder requires the kind of surgery that would cause him to miss 2 or 3 months of playing time, I would decline the option and try to work a 2yr deal, that pays him like $6mill for the partial season in 2013 then a $12mill option for 2014. unless he comes back ripping it after surgery ,he won’t be able to get a big multi year deal as a FA in 2014. Plus, if he struggles after surgery, the Braves can decline his option for 2014 and not be handcuffed.

      • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

        I have a feeling that if the Braves decline the option after McCann had been so good for so long, I’d think he at least tries to see if someone gives him something similar. His mold is very rare- offensive minded catcher who is a good catcher as well

        • CT 3 years ago

          He’s an average defensive catcher at best. The plus for McCann has always been his offense, which has made up for his average defense. If his offense declines, so does his value.

          • Defiancy 3 years ago

            He’s average in his blocking skills and CS numbers, but above average at pitch framing.

          • Jwick22 3 years ago

            he has always had a right handed heavy pitching staff plus hanson gets eat up every time he is on the bump. i would really like to know what his numbers would be without hanson and other slow to the plate righties. there is noo chance to throw out a hanson baserunner

          • CowboyJames 3 years ago

            This is true. Hanson offers no help to controlling the running game. But for me its not so much the throwing. It’s the lack of mobility/laziness behind the plate. It’s the being scared to block the plate. Its the fact that Tim Hudson has always prefered whoever was the reserve catcher. Also he gets a little lazy sometimes with his throw to first after a dropped strike three. At times he will throw off his front foot with his body facing first base. It scares the hell outa me every time. Thats a strikeout and it needs to preserved. It is not a time for ho-hum lackadasics. I dont mean to call him out as “lazy” because I love the dude. But at times, key word “at times” he does appear so.

          • lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

            If this surgery is what it sounds like- reattaching a torn labrum, his offense shouldn’t take too much of a hit for long. Its the same surgery for Matt Kemp, and he cannot swing a bat until January but is expected to be ready for ST. If its the same surgery, he should be ready to go

          • CowboyJames 3 years ago

            Exactly

        • CowboyJames 3 years ago

          He isnt really a good catcher. He mostly gets the job done, sometimes, barely

  3. Dynasty22 3 years ago

    Wren’s wildcard idea actually isn’t bad..

    • $1529282 3 years ago

      The one problem I foresee is that the double-header should obviously go to the team with the higher seed, but then that would mean a rubber match, if necessary, would be played in the lower seed’s home park.

      It’d make a little more sense to have one game in the low seed’s park, then go to the higher seed’s for the double-header. However, that eliminates the chance of the Wild Card being decided in one day, which is also an advantage.

      Overall, I don’t know that there’s a perfect route to take. I do like Wren’s idea better than the current system, so long as teams are ok with the deciding game being played in the park of the “lesser” team.

      • Dynasty22 3 years ago

        Agree.

      • Will Linn 3 years ago

        What if the wildcard games were held in a neutral park, say the All Star stadium of that year, and it’s a double header. If the first wildcard team wins the first game, it’s over. The team from behind is basically given the chance to make up for a 1 to ten game deficit by winning two games of a doubleheader in a neutral park. It’s fair. That way the first place wildcard team can go through September feeling pretty confident (as can their fans), and the wildest card can come in knowing they have to win both. This also takes away the possibility of a second wildcard team, down by 10 games, to take all with a single ace. It also allows the first place team to reserve their ace for the DS if they win game 1, or game 2 if they loose. Either way, the wildcard teams are rewarded for their intense games with home field advantage in the DS. It may seem hard on the lowest wildcard team, and they may not get in 50% of the time, but when they do, it will be with tremendous momentum and homefield advantage despite being the worst team in the division.

    • Let_My_Cameron_Go 3 years ago

      Don’t think it would work. You are at least prolonging the post season by three days barring any one game playoffs for postseason seeding. I think it is fine the way it is because it puts such a premium on winning the division. Now maybe the home field advantage in the playoffs need some tweaking…

      • Dynasty22 3 years ago

        Actually 1 day(day/night doubleheader) and a possible rubber game.

        • Let_My_Cameron_Go 3 years ago

          Add two travel days. One for the game after the doubleheader. One after that game for the Division Series…

          • Dynasty22 3 years ago

            True.

          • Not necessarily. If it was a Friday day/night double header, you could do an evening game on Saturday (prime time) as the rubber match. Then the “real” playoffs could start on Sunday Night. Teams could travel after the night game, but have time for rest during the day before the night game.

            This keeps the emphasis on winning the division (so you don’t have such quick turnaround), but allows a fair (er) shot for both wild-card teams.

  4. RippinNTearinAB 3 years ago

    Dan Uggla, Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson.

    In other words, don’t expect much Braves fans.

    • who do you suggest they replace Uggla with? Robinson Cano was the only 2B who got on base more frequently than Uggla this year. It’s not like there are a ton of 2B power hitters available.

      • RippinNTearinAB 3 years ago

        I supported Uggla all year despite his struggles. He shows that he cares about his failures and hustles all the time. However at this point, he is expendable. In his two years with the Braves, he has been disappointing. His power numbers drastically dropped this year. Get rid of his contract. His production does not warrant wasting 12+ mil on him.

        • RippinNTearinAB 3 years ago

          Well, I’m suggesting going after Andrus or Kinsler from the Rangers.

          • RippinNTearinAB 3 years ago

            To the person who said how we get rid of his contract, here is an easy answer.

            Call the Dodgers.

          • EcurbTheMighty 3 years ago

            I’m calling it now: LAD gets Dan Uggla and Tim Hudson (sorry Timmy, I love you as a Brave, but take one for the team) in return ATL gets salary relief and Mark Ellis.

          • Hudson has a good team option for next year. The Braves aren’t getting rid of Hudson and Uggla for salary relief

          • CowboyJames 3 years ago

            It’s funny. It used to be the Cubs. Now its the Dodgers

        • Colin Christopher 3 years ago

          Just how do you suggest they “get rid” of him? He’s owed $39M over the next three seasons. He’s not like a bad apple you can just dump in the trash and then brush your teeth to get rid of the taste. If the Braves want to get rid of him, they’re going to have to take on a lot of that $39M, which isn’t going to leave them much payroll flexibility to replace him. My guess is that he’s the Braves full-time 2B for at least another two full seasons, if not all three.

        • The problem with Uggla is a swing problem. He opens up too much, too quickly and cant reach the outer part of the plate. There is no excuse for going two months without fixing a problem like that. I have to think it is being pointed out to him and he is not listening.

        • DerangedAngry Hilbilly 3 years ago

          selling low on star players is not a wise decision for any GM, this isn’t a video game…..

      • Gothapotamus 3 years ago

        they may not be able to get a more productive 2B, but for what he’s being paid, it wouldn’t be hard to find somebody comparable for considerably less. they could’ve used that savings on improving other areas of the team.

        • DerangedAngry Hilbilly 3 years ago

          Yes, it WOULD be that hard. Uggla, EVEN WITH all the struggles, was 7th in 2b WAR this year. So, no, you can’t find someone to just plug in and get decent value from, not for less money.

          • RippinNTearinAB 3 years ago

            This guy is obsessed with WAR. Uggla in his two years with the Braves has been average at best. I don’t need a stat do prove that. Without the walks this year, which is surprising because he strikes out a lot, his numbers would look worse this year. That is the only value Uggla provided for the braves this year and that is not worth his contract.

          • -C 3 years ago

            Barry Bonds would be worth so much less without all those homers…

            -C

          • RippinNTearinAB 3 years ago

            Uggla was brought and paid to hit homeruns and be a run producer in the middle of the lineup. Last year he hit 30 homers. This year, he couldn’t even hit 20 in a healthy season. The walks hold value but the braves need more from him.

            I understand we won’t find many second baseman that are offensively capable as Uggla, hence his high WAR, however to depend on that stat to fully analyze Uggla’s production and especially worth to the Braves (given the contract), is unfair and flawed. The guy is overpaid, but I don’t think it is fair to assume he holds no value in a trade, hence why I suggested entertaining offers for him. I never said we trade him for nothing, for the heck of getting rid of the contract, however from what I’ve seen from him offensively and especially defensively, he is expendable.

          • RippinNTearinAB 3 years ago

            Also let me make it clear, I’m not lobbying to trade him as a priority. Obviously right the now the Braves are and should be focused on extending some of their players and possible additions in center and third. However, that shouldn’t stop them from entertaining offers for him.

          • DerangedAngry Hilbilly 3 years ago

            10th in UZR this year for 2nd baseman,10th in defensive runs saved, he was near the top in total plays at 2b too, I would say he had quite a good defensive year. oh just admit it, moving Uggla is a bad idea.

          • RippinNTearinAB 3 years ago

            Uggla is striking out at a higher rate this year than years past. His power numbers drastically dropped this year. And let’s not try to justify his poor defense. He is not good defensively, .980 i believe. Moving Uggla should not be the priority but entertaining offers for him is not a bad idea.

      • Jeff 3 years ago

        Prado. Get a LF and CF if you can dump Uggla’s salary off somewhere.

  5. Stimz 3 years ago

    I’m not ready to think about next season yet.

  6. $17867741 3 years ago

    I seriously don’t know how the Angels can justify keeping Peter Bourjos for another season…

    Trout and Trumbo will definitely return, and they plan to re-sign Torii Hunter for at least 1 more year. It doesn’t make sense to have Vernon as a 4th OF, considering he is owed $42m through 2014. It makes less sense to have Peter Bourjos rot away as a backup player when he should be playing, everyday.

    Bourjos’ value has dropped dramatically, but there is good news:
    1) still pre-arb so he isn’t a salary burden to anyone
    2) many teams can use a good CF – the Braves might be one of those teams

    • I wouldn’t mind getting him. He did hit in that 1 year he started. He’s my 2nd choice for CF (after Jay from STL)

      • $17867741 3 years ago

        Jon Jay is good, but I doubt he will be available. Two reasons:

        1) Cardinals OF is not crowded, and thus there is no need to move someone.

        2) Cardinal’s best OF prospect, Taveras, isn’t set to reach the big-leagues till 2014, and will likely succeed Beltran in RF.

        I doubt the Braves are willing to overpay for Jay, so I can’t imagine any ‘fair’ trade scenarios that the Cardinals would accept.

  7. thekidfromyesterday 3 years ago

    Trade Teheran I don’t think he’s the real deal

    • I wouldn’t trade him, coming off the bad year. However, I think Delgado may be better than him. Really liking what he’s shown us.

      • Jeff 3 years ago

        While I would offer Hanson arb, I assume it will be $3mil, I wouldn’t guarantee him a spot on theML roster. Teheran and Delgado, as well as Gilmatin should have shots to win the back-end rotation spots in ST.

  8. -C 3 years ago

    Ben Duronio suggested a Best-of-Two wildcard format, with the 2nd wildcard team having to win both games to advance. I really like the idea, but that’s assuming an NL-like wildcard scenario. It would have been more unfair in the AL this season, since the two wildcard teams were tied by record.

    Maybe a one-game series in the event of a tie, or a two-game, double-header play-in if the first-place wildcard team won their spot definitively, i.e. not by a tie-breaker of any sort. Even if the first-place wildcard wins only by a game, the 2nd wildcard winner could have a better record only by beating the first-place team twice…so it’s really not unfair.

    It also balances out the disadvantage of being a wildcard team, I think. The wildcard gets the first two home games (which I feel is a mistake in itself, but another issue), but having their best one or possibly two pitchers throw just to make it to the divisional series is a huge blow to their chances. I think it really puts the onus on the wildcard team to overcome a real handicap to reach the ALCS/NLCS, especially for the second wildcard team. And I feel that’s warranted, given that the second wildcard barely finished in the top-third of the league’s standings overall.

    -C

    • Tko11 3 years ago

      Best of two with the 2nd wildcard having to win both games? Sounds awful to me. Rather just do best of three. The wild card team with better record gets 1st and 3rd game at home. The point of two wild cards was just so that winning the division would be more important and it succeeded People make it seem like they will soon want to adopt the NBA format where they just take the top 8 records from each league…I hope that never happens but everyone keeps talking about how the Angels had a better record than the Tigers but missed the playoffs and so on.

      • -C 3 years ago

        Playing three games and switching venues throughout is going to extend the postseason by too much. You can play two in one day and be done with it, which is really what the owners want anyway.

        -C

        • Tko11 3 years ago

          Start spring training and the season earlier.

          • -C 3 years ago

            I hear New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Detroit, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Denver, Cleveland, and Cincinnati have lovely weather in March.

            C

          • Tko11 3 years ago

            Yes, because moving the start of the season 2-3 days really makes a huge difference…

  9. MLB_in_the_Know 3 years ago

    Wren’s main priority this offseason should be very simple: LOCK OUR KIDS UP!!!

    Get extensions for any/all of Heyward, Prado, Freeman, Kimbrel, Simmons, Medlen, Minor, Venters, and E OF

    • Fat, Ugly Inner-City Sweathog 3 years ago

      Agreed. If they can get a good FA or trade piece, that’s great, but guys like Freeman, Heyward, Medlen, et al need to be priority this offseason. Lock em up while they’re relatively cheap, ala Evan Longoria in Tampa.

  10. EcurbTheMighty 3 years ago

    Even at $6.5 mil, I’d still be interested in picking up Maholm’s option. It became readily apparent that Atlanta’s pitching depth wasn’t as good as it was originally thought to be. I think Delgado is the real deal, when Medlen come backs to Earth he’s still solid. Factor in Tim Hudson, half a year of Beachy (hopefully) and whatever Tommy Hanson decides to do, and having a durable lefty at the back of your rotation for a decent price tag isn’t looking like a bad idea. Worst case scenario: he implodes and gets DFA’ed. Best case, our young guys get their acts together, log some quality innings and at the deadline, Maholm is expendable and can fetch another bench bat that Frank Wren loves to get each year.

  11. Kent Kimes 3 years ago

    Delgado may not have the “stuff” of Teheran, but he seems more poised and aggressive; he’s very close to sticking at MLB level IMHO; I agree we should take the option on Maholm; he’s not great, but he’s fairly consistent – but with any kind of run support he would have won nearly every start since coming over, aside that bombing from Milwaukee, who he historically struggled against. Two lefties in the rotation is good.

  12. Bob Bunker 3 years ago

    Middlebrooks, Ellsbury, and a pitching prospect for Teheran, Delgado, and another pitcher. Would the Braves do it? Would the Red Sox do it?

    • Tko11 3 years ago

      I would really hope the Red Sox wouldnt do it….

      • Bob Bunker 3 years ago

        well this is the way I look at it. They most likely are not going to keep ellsbury after this year or compete for a championship in 2013. Thus they should trade him and Atlanta would be an obvious match with their young pitching. However, I doubt Atlanta gives up a top pitching prospect for one year of Jacoby unless they thought it would be 2011 Jacoby which Im not sure it will be. So the Red Sox throw in Middlebrooks( Fill the Braves need at 3B) and recieve good young pitching. All I hear about in the red sox farm system is offensive prospects including Bogartes and Ceccini who are considered 3B. Why not trade some offense for pitching that will help them in 2014 and beyond?

        • Tko11 3 years ago

          Prospects are prospects, they can go either way, Middlebrooks has shown that he can hit major league pitching and hit for power. If he improves from last year, he can be their 3B for a while. Talks around Bogaerts indicate that he may be moved to the outfield. Either way Teheran had a pretty awful year at AAA last year. I would think his value is down right now. I also dont think the Red Sox are committed to a full rebuild (as indicated by their interest in resigning Ross and Ortiz) and I dont think they need a full rebuild. They without a doubt under performed last year but they also had quite a few injuries. As long as Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, Middlebrooks, Ross can stay healthy I would not be worried about the offense. They also get Bailey for a full season (if he stays healthy) and Lackey who can eat innings. I’m not sure whether they plan to keep Ellsbury but if they do trade him I think they can get a better package.

          • Bob Bunker 3 years ago

            Teheran was a top ten prospect before the year. Delgado was a top 50 prospect and has been decent in big leauge experience. They are both 22 and are ready for the bigs. The Sox biggest need is pitching. Imagine a rotation in 3 years of Clay, Barnes, Teheran, Delgado, and Doubront. If they all met their potential that would be a great cost controllable pitching staff. Now im not saying the Sox should do it but Im not saying that they shouldn’t either. It depends how close they think they are to winning a championship because that is the goal not just wild card playoff game.

  13. bravesfan2707 3 years ago

    The one-game playoff is without question a horribly unfair idea… Reason being, a team could finish w/ the 2nd best record in the majors & be bounced in one game if they were close enough to winning their division to not be able to set up their rotation to have their ace(s) pitch the one-game & the 2nd wc team had a comfortable enough lead to do so… I’m in favor of keeping the one-game “play-in” but having it pit the 2 playoff teams w/ the worst records against one another…

    And for all those mentioning the early home field for the lower seeded teams for the 1st 2 games of the LDS & how it could propel those teams momentum-wise –> This will be the only year it’s set up that way… They’re going back to a 2-2-1 but had to find the best way to fit this new playoff format in in the shortest amount of days this season since the schedule had already been set & they decided on the new playoff format so late…

    • Fat, Ugly Inner-City Sweathog 3 years ago

      It’s supposed to be ‘unfair’. The idea is that you want the Division, not the Wildcard. If you fall short and get the wildcard spots, it’s a one-game crapshoot on purpose. The Rangers & Braves won’t like it because they got bumped by the new system, but it accomplished exactly what MLB wanted: bring back the value of winning your Division.

  14. NYBravosFan10 3 years ago

    One reason I love the offseason is that the Braves always seem to be the most popular team on here.

    • RippinNTearinAB 3 years ago

      Yet the end result always ends up underwhelming.

  15. Fat, Ugly Inner-City Sweathog 3 years ago

    I can easily see this being Bourn’s peak season. If it costs you $13-15mm/yr for 5 yrs or so, I’d pass. Someone will overspend, but ATL has more than one need and can’t overpay on CF.

  16. I thought the former Wild Card format was fine. The 2nd wildcard idea is only a marketing ploy, but I guess it’s good for more teams to rake in postseason dough. And Chipper didn’t like it before they lost it.

  17. Fat, Ugly Inner-City Sweathog 3 years ago

    Exactly. If we take away the subjective element (our team being the one to get eliminated), the system is fine. I never liked the wild card when they added the first one, but adding the second at the very least returns value to winning the division. Before this, there was no incentive to winning the division over the wildcard. Now we’ve seen first-hand how much difference it makes. If the Rangers/Braves don’t like it, win the Division next year.

  18. TDKnies 3 years ago

    I like the idea of getting rid of divisions. I’d miss the divisional rivalries, but if that’s the tradeoff for getting the best teams in the playoffs every single year then I’d take it.

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