The Braves’ pitching staff looks deep, but they could turn over one quarter of their lineup in the coming offseason. GM Frank Wren discussed the team with MLBTR at this year's general manager meetings in Indian Wells, California. Here’s the latest on the Braves, including Wren’s thoughts on the offseason’s top free agent position player…
- The Braves are looking at free agents that could fit in Atlanta, and the GM acknowledged Josh Hamilton is on the team’s radar. “Obviously we’re aware of Josh being a free agent, being a guy that would fit the bill for us,” Wren said. “But we’re not a club that has a huge payroll, and one player taking a huge percentage of our payroll is not the strategy we generally take to field our club. We need to put as many quality players on the field as we can and when one player takes such a large percentage, that inhibits our ability to put a team together.” Danny Knobler reported last week that the Braves are intrigued by Hamilton.
- Martin Prado’s versatility means the Braves can pursue outfielders or third basemen, Wren said. “His flexibility is a real benefit to us.”
- The Braves will be seeking outfield reinforcements this offseason, and they’d like to bring back Michael Bourn if possible. “I’m not sure where that market’s going to go, and where he’s going to go. We’ll stay abreast of it,” Wren said. “He’s a guy we’d like to have back.” The center fielder will presumably decline Atlanta’s qualifying offer by Friday’s deadline.
- The Braves’ pitching staff will return mostly unchanged in 2013, and Wren considers pitching depth one of the organization’s primary strengths. “We have some dynamic young pitchers that are on the verge of being a part of our rotation or on our club,” he added. Though Wren remains open to trading from pitching depth, he pointed out that it can disappear quickly.
I truly think Denard Span will end up being a Brave. Then we just need some kind of RH balance with power. DOB says Willingham but I’m not sold on him. Any suggestions?
Gonna put it out there that the Nationals will probably also be after him. A bidding war should be fun, but not one that I really want my team to win, I think.
No, I’m convinced WSH’s want for a CF will make them pay either Bourn or Upton. They don’t need to make the trades that we might need to make in order to maximize
If we get MIN, which would be a pretty good option, we wouldn’t be getting Willingham from the same team. ATL has passed up Willingham more than once and they’re not keen on him – especially if they have to pay premium for him considering how friendly his deal (2 yrs remaining) is.
If Span is in CF which can be lead-off, I wouldn’t mind Cody Ross, who could be had cheaper per year than Hunter. NYY/BOS are in for Hunter and they’ll give him $10M per for a short contract to get him there. Hunter is at the stage that he’d do it. Ross is RH, hits LH pitching well (career .293 vs. LHP) and provides a decent glove and power with a great clubhouse presence and some success in the NL East (with Fredi on the Marlins). I’d love to see Justin Upton in LF but we don’t line up with ARZ as a trade partner.
Cody Ross LF
I love Frank Wren. I think he is a great GM but he has got to be the most cryptic GM in baseball when it comes to possible acquistions. This is why I always say that the rumors that are developed around the Braves for weeks on end will most likely never happen. Frank is like a ninja and blindsides the fans. Gotta love it!!
Wren knows Bourn is not coming back… not even worth focusing on at this point. They put the ball in his court at the end of the season and haven’t heard a word back
In Wren we trust.
As a GM, Wren sings a good song, but some of the young pitchers will have to leave the nest if the team is to fill the bill. Just goin’ out on a limb here…..
But it’s the same old song and not even in a different key. . .
He slowed it down
I guess tempo counts… I’m expecting a Jonny Gomes type and maybe Lorenzo Cain…
Bravesfan22, we could have Hamilton if we settled and traded Hanson for Bourjos. Just saying. Realistically, we’re not going to get a power bat for the OF. We’ll more than likely end up with a good all around guy, like Pagan. Relatively cheap at 9-10 a year on average. Will fill Bourn’s leadoff role quite well, hits doubles and triples, and can steal a base.
There’s an outside shot we go after Justin Upton, then attempt to get his brother to sign, and maybe at a bit of a discount, since he will be with his brother, which they’ve both stated they’d enjoy.
Personally, I’d like to make a run at Hellickson and Hamilton. Also, trading Hanson for Bourjos in this scenario would allow us to have a plus defender on the super cheap, and we will have an even better rotation going forward than what we have waiting in the minors.
who will play LF for the 40 games Hamilton misses each year?
There are much better values out there than signing the injury prone Josh Hamilton
Evan Gattis? Seriously though you are right about him missing games.
Twins seem like the most logical match with Span. It almost seems to good of a match between them. Ludwick could provide the RH power we need and he can play LF. Shane Victorino could also be a possibility but we really need a consistent RH bat with power.
We need some star power. Who is going to help fill the seats in Turner? No one is going to pay money to watch Josh Willingham play or Denard Span. I’m sorry.
Josh Hamilton is not really a fit for this team. Plain and simple. Caring about attendance is fine with me but we need to put the best product we can on the field while maintaining the budget we have.
I agree with you 100 % on budget, and putting out a good product. However we just lost Chipper Jones. And for me he’ll never be replaceable, and I’m sure the rest of you all will agree with that. But we need a little bit better than the Twins OF. We need an Upton with a Victorino, or even the law firm of Heyward, Upton, and Upton. For once that’s reasonable.
I think the Braves will be in for Upton but won’t get him. They don’t really fit as trade partners.
I’m afraid you’re correct. But that’s what we need to hope for.
Think 3 team deal. Wren trades pitching for a SS then flips SS to AZ in a package for Upton. He can do it and it is the kind of deal JS was famous for in the early 90s.
What JS deal are you referring to?
Which John Schuerholz deal did that?
I like bringing in the Upton bros, but the big question still would remain: who is our lead-off hitter? BJ is not a lead-off hitter and his numbers look best as a 2-hitter, which Prado is incredible as. Bourn and Span are lead-off hitters. Victorino could be, but not a great one.
I still like Denard Span for Delgado + Gilmartin + lower prospect. We have our CFer for I think three more seasons. Then you look for the LF with power.
I would rather the Braves target Victorino than trade two young pitchers. One of Delgado or Gilmartin would be the staring point hopefully not both of them.
I can agree with that too. I don’t know what it would really cost but probably something along those lines. It is just what is Victorino going to ask for in FA? He did have a pretty bad season so maybe not as much.
I wouldn’t call his season a total loss. He was a stolen base shy of 40, played solid D and still gets on base at a decent clip. He will be a steal this offseason.
Oh cool. I didn’t know all the stats but he didn’t have a normal Victorino season.
That’s a massive overpay for Span. Delgado or Gilmartin as a straight-up would make more sense. I’d offer Hanson+ Spruill (also a good prospect)+ a lower piece.
Agreed. Gilmartin is our top pick who has flown through the minors, while Delgado has successful MLB starts under his belt and a lot of upside. Put them together only if Span and Willingham are packaged, and even then I wouldn’t be gung-ho giving up those 2 pitchers. Gilmartin has more upside than Spruill and I’m starting to think Hanson.
I don’t think we should trade Gilmartin at all….Something tells me he is a future star.
Again with the Braves being “intrigued” by Hamilton. Nothing new here.
Get it done Wren!
How do we get Upton? We don’t fit as trade partners unless you want to give up Simmons.
Somehow convince the Dbacks Juan Francisco is their 3b of the future?
Victorino isnt a lead off hitter…
I don’t see why he can’t be. He works the count, he is pesky, has speed and causes havoc on the base paths, he can go 1st-3rd 1st-home. He would score a ton in this offense, and he is a switch hitter. Sounds like a perfect situation to me…
He cant be because he doest really hit for average, doesnt get on base enough, and he is awful against right handed pitching.
But other than that, he’s great!
D-Backs are looking for a innings eater and third baseman…..maybe they would buy into an Upton for Tommy Hanson, Randall Delgado, Juan Francisco trade…make our opening day rotation Hudson, Medlen, Minor, Maholm, Teheran…Gilmartin will be knocking on the big league doors and Beachy will be eased back by late July.
Wait, selling low on Hanson, throwing in Delgado – who could headline any trade – and tossing in Francisco for good measure, who could provide insurance if Prado needs to be moved back to LF or doesn’t work out at 3B a full-year – not because he can’t.
IF you want an innings eater- offer you Spruill instead of Delgado, and Pastornicky instead of Fransisco.
I’d only trade Juan if we got a 3B or LF. I think Juan could win the starting 3B next year if he comes in shape and is given a fair chance (Prado in left, he’s not better than Prado)
Wren’s never won a damn thing. Until he does that (and even then, of course), he doesn’t deserve blind faith or trust.
With our payroll I’d love to see what someone like Cashman could do
I think you’re being a bit dramatic there. I don’t see any “blind faith or trust” around here. Yes many people believe in him and you have to remember he’s just getting to where the current team is mostly his doing. He’s done a really good job for the most part bringing in guys who help the team and he does it at a small cost. Obviously he’s not been perfect (i.e. Lowe, Kawakami, Linebrink, sherrill) but he’s not been terrible either. I mean he has put together a team who based on wins and money spent is 2nd best behind the Rays. If the team doesn’t perform well it’s a bit silly to blame that on the GM when he’s put together a strong team. Give the guy some credit, there are still good things to come my friend.
you get what you pay for thats all im sayin..
Perhaps a possible trade target could be Dexter Fowler from Colorado….Atlanta native and the Rockies desperately need some pitching–which we have.
thats a good idea. denard span is also an obvious choice for similar reasons other than fowler being from atlanta. I still think the Braves should try to sign Ryan Ludwick for 2 years/7.5 million a year to play LF.
Fowler’s home/road splits are concerning. There are several FA and trade targets I would look at before him.
Yeah, Fowler doesn’t do it for me. COL wants him (working out extension) and Fowler isn’t great away from COL. Great career OBP would could translate well, but MIN would give up Span for less with Revere waiting in the wings.
And Ludwick is going to demand more. Why wouldn’t CIN re-sign him for that, and fill their CF/lead-off position with one of the 5 decent options?
I really hope Wren was being diplomatic about Hamilton who fits the Braves like hip waders on an alligator. he’s a great guy but a high maintenance player who without the DH plays less than 130 games a year, adds a K for every hit, walks rarely and has mysterious illnesses popping up all the time. He left the Seattle series for unexplained sinus headaches that no specialist could identify and has eye issues that he hasn’t been able to fix. During the the latter part of August and all of September he looked awful at the plate, swinging and missing pitches well out of the zone. The Rangers hire a full time minder for him and he still wanders off the wagon. There’s a reason the Rangers didn’t seriously seek to extend him this year and aren’t going to open the bidding for Hamilton aggressively.
Justin Upton’s the guy. He’ll cost less and be twice as effective as Hamilton. He’s younger, fitter and is about to become one of the league’s preeminent players for the next decade or so. The DBacks are well reported to want a starter, lefty reliever and 3B or SS and we can do that with Maholm, Venters, Francisco and Ahmed. Make the deal Frank.
He’ll cost less in $$$ for 3 years, but he’ll cost a ton in value going to Arizona whereas Hamilton just costs cash. I assume by “twice as effective”, you’re thinking that Upton is younger and will return to near-MVP form, but over the past three years, Hamilton ranks 4th in OF WAR and Upton 18th.
Yes Wren is amazing. He who has built teams that have won what exactly? This team has not won a round in the post season since 1999 (under John Schurholtz).
Wren rode JJ and Hanson’s value to zero or near zero. Both are Boras clients and neither will stay – but one could have been traded (given ATL’s SP pipeline) for a treasure trove of prospects (salary capped teams need to sell high once in a while – Wren never does it).
He kept MInor who is good but not great when trading him would have yielded 2.3 years of Pence versus 1.3 years of Bourn. Pence played in a WS and deep into the post season with the Giants and Phillies. He will be playing in SF next year while we will watch Bourne play in Washington or Philly & in all likelihood in the post season.
He traded Frenchie for nothing after putting him in minors for 3 days to fix his issues (yes a whopping 3 days).
He traded Tex for Kotchman during the heat of a pennant race (he was fleeced on that deal) and a reliever who never played in ATL. He signed Lowe to a horrible 4yr/60mm deal. He tossed away almost 30mm on KK who spent 60+% of his contract time in A ball. Near ditto on McOUT. He had to eat 10mm of Lowe’s deal to move him last winter thereby handcuffing the team going into the 2012 season.
He traded for Uggla for Infante & a decent lefty (Infante would have done more these past two years alone by a factor of 2) then extended him BEFORE he saw Uggla play one game as a Brave (now he is stuck with him until 2015!). Could be worse than the Lowe deal in the end.
He almost traded Delgado to the Cubs for a massively over rated Dempster rental and then traded the best power arm (Viz) in the minors to the Cubs for 2mos of Reed and 1.2 years of Maholm a fairly midland LHP who was hot for a month or so with the Cubs pre trade.
He traded our best pitcher (because he couldn’t unload Lowe) to the Yankees for Melky, Viz and Salcendo (supposedly Chipper’s replacement). Melky porked out and was let go, Viz is now a Cub and Salcendo may never get to AAA never mind the majors.
You know why you love Wren bc you are akin to a person who walked through the desert with no water and found the water in the toilet to be like champagne. You don’t know what good moves look like anymore. Like some disadvantaged folks we have lowered our dreams to fit our income (or in this case the C- skills of our GM).
He hired Fredi G after interviewing no one else! All it took was a BBQ in AL for 4 hrs. 20yrs of Bobby and the ability to hire anyone who was available and he interviewed nobody. Wow.
Last year most of you would have run Fredi G over with a golf cart or threw D batteries at him due to the collapse and how he managed the pen. He like Wren had his bacon saved by Medlen and Chipper in 2012. Had they missed the playoffs folks (including many here professing the love of Wren) would have burned their season tickets on Youtube until Fredi was canned and Wren along with him.
You believe its all about having to scrap by with a measly $92mm payroll. When in reality it is about making ill conceived moves (buckets of them) when your 92mm payroll only can afford you 1 or 2.
On a 110-120mm payroll team you can operate like Wren and use money to cover your mistakes. On a 90-92mm payroll you have no where to hide.
Wren has to thank his guardian angle that Medlen pitched like Cy Young for two months and Chipper played through pain or the Braves would not have made the WC playoff game. That is a fact and there was no super secret plan to have Medlen come in and save the day. That was hole in one luck for Wren and the Braves.
Yes he is a great little pitcher but he was ungodly for two months and again that was fortuitous not planned.
So apart from getting embarrassed in the game against STL (error machine) what has Wren brought to ATL?
Nice thesis bro. A few points….
Frenchie is/was worth trading for nothing.
Pence wasn’t going to take this team to the World Series.
The Uggla deal looked very good at the time, as did the extension. I’m pretty sure Wren “saw Uggla” play with the Marlins. Who cares if he didn’t see him play in Atlanta before extending him?
“Almost traded Delgado” – but yet, he didn’t.
“Bacon saved by Medlen and Chipper” – How about some credit for the way Wren and co. handled Medlen’s TJ surgery return? Much better than how Washington handled Stras…