Frank Wren Rumors

Lowe For Sale?

In an informative post-mortem on the Braves, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Atlanta General Manager Frank Wren "is expected to explore the possibility of trading [Derek] Lowe, who is owed $45MM over the final three years of his contract."

The idea makes a ton of sense for Atlanta. With multiple needs, and a surplus of starters, the Braves should certainly jettison one in an effort to add a first baseman, outfielder and/or help in the bullpen.

The question is less about why Atlanta would deal Lowe, and more why anyone would want to deal for him at his price.

Lowe is coming off of a season with a 4.67 ERA along with a strikeout rate of just 5.1 per nine innings. He certainly didn't finish strong, with a 5.05 second-half ERA, and a 6,23 mark from September 1 on. And that $15MM per season will pay for Lowe's age-37, age-38 and age-39 campaigns.

Even if Lowe had pitched extremely well in 2009, it is hard to imagine that many teams could afford him. And of those teams, both the Yankees and Red Sox would hardly want to ask a pitcher with a declining strikeout rate to switch leagues.

It will be fascinating to see if the Braves can find a trading partner for Lowe. They can always make the argument, "He's just a year removed from a 3.24 ERA!" But those arguments never seem to result in renaissance seasons. A lot can change with a year removed. After all, Jon and Kate are just a year removed from being "happily married television stars."


Odds & Ends: Aramis, Marte, Lowe

Links for Wednesday…

  • Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune talked to Aramis Ramirez about his $14.6MM player option for 2011, and the Cubs' third baseman was noncommittal.  Other third basemen who may become free agents after the 2010 season include Garrett Atkins, Jorge Cantu, Mike Lowell, Jhonny Peralta, and Scott Rolen.
  • Former top prospect Andy Marte spoke with Indians GM Mark Shapiro about the future, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Shapiro told Marte to play first and third base in winter ball and show up early to Spring Training.  It was a tough year for Marte, who turns 26 in November.  He was designated for assignment to make room for Juan Salas in February, cleared waivers, raked at Triple A, and then struggled in the bigs.
  • Braves GM Frank Wren told MLB.com's Mark Bowman that Derek Lowe "pitched really well for us."  Aside from his home run rate, Lowe's numbers declined across the board this year.
  • The Nationals will improve their minor league catching depth for next year, GM Mike Rizzo told MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
  • Miguel Angel Sano is on the backburner for the Orioles, Roch Kubatko of MASN learned from team president Andy MacPhail.  MLB's inconclusive age investigation is the problem.
  • David Waldstein of the New York Times says Ramon Pena, a special assistant to Mets GM Omar Minaya, will not be back next year.  Waldstein says a scouting/player development shakeup is in order.  Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News has info on possible changes aside from Pena.
  • White Sox closer Bobby Jenks is out for the season with a calf injury.  Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times wonders about the righty's future, given a possible $7MM arbitration reward for the 2010 season.
  • Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News notes the impending raise for Giants closer Brian Wilson, who enters his first arbitration year.  Jenks' $5.6MM salary this year will serve as a comparable, so the Giants will add around $5MM to the payroll compared to Wilson's $480K this year.
  • Braves manager Bobby Cox was not happy with the way GM Frank Wren handled the John Smoltz situation last winter, according to Yahoo's Gordon Edes.

Braves Fielding Offers for Pitching

SUNDAY, 11:21am: According to Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, while the Braves are happy to maintain the surplus they've acquired, they are anticipating offers. Rogers says the most likely source of trade candidates would come from the bullpen, but she includes Josh Anderson and Martin Prado as expendable position players.

Rogers posits seeking a third basemen as a successor to Chipper Jones could be a logical area of interest for the Braves. 

SATURDAY, 6:01pm: Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Braves GM Frank Wren may look to trade surplus pitching as the season nears. According to Bowman, "Wren has already started to receive a number of pitches from teams that need arms."

Bowman writes that the "most expendable pitchers" appear to be Jeff Bennett, Buddy Carlyle, Manny Acosta and Jorge Campillo.



Braves Won’t Be Dealing With Kinzer, Tellem

8:17pm: Tim Brown reacts to Tellem’s statement and breaks down the drama. Brown heard from one American League GM who would be “furious” if something similar happened to him.

7:51pm: Tony Jackson received a statement, apparently from agent Arn Tellem, about the events of the past couple days. It suggests there was “never an agreement reached” between Furcal and the Braves. The statement says Furcal’s agents “will continue to present opportunities to the Braves” when it’s in a client’s best interest. It concludes by asking that the event not color the Braves’ “better judgment” once “emotions have subsided.”

4:17pm: Braves president John Schuerholz comments on the situation.

3:02pm: SI.com’s Jon Heyman talked to Wren, who said he’s notified the Wasserman Media Group the Braves will no longer be doing business with them.  It’s a bold move, as the agency has a robust client list.

9:27am: Based on Frank Wren’s comments, the Braves won’t be dealing with agents Paul Kinzer and Arn Tellem anytime soon due to the recent Rafael Furcal dramaDylan Hernandez transcribes:

When WIFN talk show host Bill Shanks prefaced a question by saying that he knew Wren couldn’t burn bridges with Kinzer and Tellem, Wren interjected, "That bridge is gone. I don’t have to worry about burning it. The bridge is gone."

Most remaining clients represented by these agents don’t fit for the Braves this offseason anyway.  But Tellem does represent Randy WolfESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has a source saying it’d be "next to impossible" for the Braves to pursue Wolf now.  You can find the full client list for Tellem’s Wasserman Media Group here (click Management, then Baseball).  Current Brave Peter Moylan is also represented by the firm.


Rosenthal’s Latest: Hudson, Ordonez, Fielder, Howard

Let’s swing through Ken Rosenthal’s latest column.

  • Rosenthal names the Mets, Yankees, Rangers, White Sox, Indians, Rockies, and Cardinals as speculative fits for free agent second baseman Orlando Hudson.  Obviously several of those scenarios would involve shuffling players to other positions or trades.  The Yankees’ infield defense could certainly use the boost.
  • Rosenthal considers Frank Wren’s midseason trip to Japan a sign that he might be active in that market.
  • The Tigers may shop Magglio Ordonez for pitching this winter.  Maggs will need fewer than 500 plate appearances next year to cause his 2010 and 2011 options to vest.  So he’s essentially owed $48MM over three years.
  • Don’t forget two other sluggers who may be available this winter: Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard.  It works well for the Brewers and Phillies, as the free agent market is weak at first base.

Frank Wren Chat At MLB.com

Braves GM Frank Wren chatted with fans today at MLB.com.  A hot stove summary is below.

  • Wren is working on various short-term options for center field, as he does not want to block his two center field prospects.
  • Rumors that the Braves would sign Mike Lowell or trade for Ken Griffey Jr., which were silly from Day 1, were shot down.
  • Octavio Dotel wants a multiyear deal, and Wren doesn’t seem to expect him back.  The Braves do have interest in re-signing Ron Mahay though.
  • Wren says that he won’t go after any more starters if the Braves sign Tom Glavine.
  • There haven’t been any talks with Mark Teixeira regarding a contract extension yet.


Schuerholz To Step Down

Wow, they just keep on coming.  According to Ken Rosenthal, Braves GM John Schuerholz will step down (to be announced at a press conference this afternoon).  Schuerholz will serve as team president, so at least he can be consulted on moves.  Assistant GM Frank Wren will take his place.  Wren spent about a year as Orioles’ GM in ’99.

Sometimes I can be overly critical of GMs…but Schuerholz is awesome.  This is a huge loss for the Braves. On the bright side, I’m sure Wren has learned a lot working under him. 

Here’s a solid look at Wren’s brief time as Orioles GM.  Not sure who the author is.  Even with the concession that Peter Angelos did much meddling, Wren seemingly did a lousy job.  Wren did not part on good terms with the O’s – he was fired and criticized in a public statement.