Surprise!

Furcal says no to Braves, returns to Dodgers | ajc.com

This would never have happened to John Schuerholz. Frank Wren is not John Schuerholz, and right now he’s been humiliated. I honestly don’t see how he doesn’t wind up a laughingstock, and he basically has to do something dramatic and fantastic or he will be unable to function effectively as general manager. Maybe I’m overreacting, but I don’t think so. I think that Wren has always been perceived as weak, overshadowed by the manager he inherited and the former general manager who is still over him in the team’s organization chart, subject to distant owners with whom he has no direct contact. He is probably right to be upset; from all appearances, the Furcal camp violated normal operating practices. If a team backed out on a player like this, there would probably be a union grievance, and they would likely win. At the same time, Wren still appears weak, and complaining about it does not help this perception.

My April Fool’s joke this year was about Schuerholz firing Wren and taking over the job again. To be honest, I think there’s a reasonable chance — say, one in five — that this actually happens sometime in the next 15 months. I think that there is a nearly even chance that Wren is replaced by somebody within that time frame.

255 thoughts on “Surprise!”

  1. Maybe so, but I blame Furcal (and his agent) rather than Wren. Hard to know for sure, but reports suggest there was a deal that Furcal then backed out of. As I said on the last thread–plunk him.

    Edit–and plunk him hard!

  2. I am happy the Braves didn’t overpay the often injured Burnett and didn’t see the point of signing Furcal when the Braves already had Escobar. Wren didn’t have to give up any players Atlanta was counting on in the near future to get Vasquez. The only thing I’m really disappointed in is not getting Peavy. I suspect Shuerholz would have figured out a package that Towers would have accepted. But if Wren resigns Smoltz and signs one of the free agent outfielders to play LF, it won’t be that bad an offseason really.

  3. If Peavy, Burnett and Furcal all go down with injuries early in the season will Wren be proclaimed the best GM ever?

  4. Can’t wait to hear Kinzer’s BS excuse. Wren needs to lay the boom down on both Furcal and his agents regardless.

    Anyone else feel like we’re paying for all of the good karma of the 14 year run?

    Life on the other side sucks.

  5. I am peeved at the way this went down but I don’t think we lost much. I was not enamored with Furcal, Burnett and the price for Peavy seemed very high.
    I don’t like the available players either, do we really want Pat Burell for 3 or 4 years? I guess so, maybe? He is better than Diaz or Blanco and he is a righty, maybe we can land him and be better off overall, keep our young kids, see who pans out and go from there.

  6. Mac, you are overreacting. Wren has had a tough off season but its not his fault. I am applauding his attempts at improving the team. This could be a blessing in disguise. Now, unless we go crazy and sign Orlando Cabrera or something, we have to keep our solid middle infield. Yeah according to something I read they preferred KJ in LF over the outside options but as we all know KJ at 2b is more valuable. Furcal and Kinzer are bastards for going back on their word but their is honor and then there is 3 million dollars.

    Another blessing is that maybe Wren realizes that the Braves now have to play for 2010 so they won’t do the Davies to Hanson. We’ll see.

    Reiterating, Wren is trying to get the work done. I like most of you thought the Furcal signing was a prelude to another run at a starting pitcher. He cannot help it if his best laid plans fall apart because dumbass Furcal would rather play in LA.

  7. exactly what was Wren supposed to do? send the Atlanta baseball cops out to the coast to get the little bastard? i guess it really does suck when you stand on the corner with a fistfull of cash and nobody will take it……….at least it was good for a day of wild speculation by all the junior GMs here. position changes?? future trades?? how about business as usual??………. meet the new boss, a little different than the old boss.

  8. Stu, I have been hoping for that to happen as well.

    I think Mac is right about people’s perception on Wren…or Wren is just too nice of a person.

    Also remember JS got an agreed trade on Bonds back out by the Pirates which we didn’t know until JS talked about it himself. So, maybe we are overreacting.

  9. Mac, thank you for taking my side. Kinzer maybe a douchebag but Wren looks like a doofus, over & over & over.

    And I hope the Dodgers come to Atlanta over a weekend so I can heckle that a–hat, Furcal. More like Fu–all.

  10. I’m not saying it’s necessarily Wren’s fault, but that is going to be the perception. He looks weak, and like someone agents and other GMs aren’t afraid to cross.

  11. That’s all true, Mac (and Alex), but to think that would morph to Wren actually being fired mid-season…I don’t see that. Even if we are a last place team I don’t see that.

  12. But what was Wren supposed to do? If he looks weak, how was he supposed to act following what had happened? I’m not trying to be an @ss, just asking out of my own curiosity.

  13. @15 – so far I don’t percieve Wren as weak at all. If he were, he would have given in on the demands for Peavy, but he was smart enough to say No Way. And he has no control of whether a free agent signs with us after giving them our best offer (i.e. Burnett) – it makes our franchise look worse than it does Wren. This has been his only true mistake thus far, but it doesn’t even look like it is his fault.

    …And I do say that that trade that got Jurrjens and Gorkys over here was a stroke of genius.

  14. I find it hard to believe that anyone here can question the fact that the way Wren is viewed has been affected to his detriment by this off season.

    Regardless of whether or not it was his fault, he is responsible. It’s the price you pay.

    And while I do feel that he got shafted in this situation, I think he was incredibly stupid to state his off season goals publicly.

    1. It creates an unnecessary pressure to fill them, even if the price is not worth the acquisition.

    2. It creates a sense of failure leading into the season if they are not met.

    3. It provides other teams with leverage when you are trying to achieve these goals.

    4. It gives your rivals a game plan to stop you from accomplishing them

    Even if the effect of these are miniscule, there is no reason to open yourself to these types of potential problems. Schuerholz never did, and I would like to find a person who could argue that he and team weren’t better for it.

  15. Schuerholz did, in fact. After Maddux left, the offseason mantra from Schuerholz in the years that followed was “We need to rebuild our starting pitching depth.” This led to the Russ Ortiz’s of the world. But still, stating the glaringly obvious (we need SP’s and an OF) is not something unique to Frank Wren.

  16. I’m not pointing to that deal specifically, csg, I’m just saying Schuerholz came out every year and said he wanted starting pitchers. I don’t think it adversely affected his ability to acquire them.

  17. I agree Ethan, JS always used really general lawyer type speech when stating offseason goals.

    “Rest assured that our organization will make the necessary augmentations to once again put ourselves in position to field a competitive championship caliber team.”

  18. Furcal receives salaries of $6.5 million, $8.5 million and $12 million. The team option for 2012 is for $12 million, but vests with 600 plate appearances in 2011. There is a $3 million deferred signing bonus.

    4th yr option doesnt look easy

    #25 – ????

  19. Why is that CSG? Because we will be facing the dodgers in atlanta, or because we will be saying goodbye to our relief corps and Javy vazquez in deadline deals?

  20. Stu, that is one move that we agree on!

    Mac, Wren doesn’t look weak, he is.

    I though last year he did an okay job, not bad, but put this offseason with last year and I think he gets a soild D. The Jurgens trade was great, but it has all been down hill form there. I think Schuerholz would have gotten more for Texieria and would have moved Ohman for something.

    Last year when we the front office was publicly talking about making a move or playing for next year; that never would have happened with Schuerholz making the moves.

    I know Schuerholz is the team president, but I think he has a hands off approach now.

    Fire Wren.

  21. Am I crazy here when I remember, post-Maddux, Schuerholz saying multiple times he wanted to rebuild his starting pitching depth? Then going out and acquiring starting pitchers?

  22. good god, what possible difference could it make whatever Wren says? do you think he could fool anyone by acting like he didn’t need anything? hell, Ray Charles could see what this team needs and he’s blind AND dead.

  23. It’s one thing to say you want to improve your starting pitching and another to say that you want a slugging outfielder and two starting pitchers, one of whom needs to be a top of the rotation guy.

    And while the team’s needs may be obvious, whether or not the Braves are going to try to fill them internally or externally may not be

    Like I said, the effects may not be that large, but still, what good does stating your intentions publicly accomplish? It’s stupid to tell everyone the hand you’re playing with, even if they can probably guess what you’ve been dealt

  24. Do we have any actuaries/accountants here? Didn’t Furcal come close to taking less money to play in L.A.? Trading $2.5 million in 2009 and $0.5 million in 2010 for an extra $3 million in 2011 and $3 million deferred over who knows how long?

  25. I think it’s hard to put this on Wren. In reality, I don’t the operation of the Braves FO has changed much under him. Both JS and FW have the same offices they did. It sounds to me like the FO is a braintrust that includes Wren, JS, Cox, and maybe a few others. I think Wren used to be an assistant GM with more say than most in his position, and now he is a GM with less say than most GMs.

    I thought one of the reasons that JS stepped aside was that he was having trouble with agents and the media. JS was a horrible interview. He comes off as a jerk and gives no information. And in the season that Furcal left, JS complained about the agents for Furcal, and Farnsworth, and there was a spat with Todd Jones.

    I wish I knew how sacred a terms sheet is. I dealt with them several years ago when I shopped my book. We would discuss the terms on the phone, then I would get a fax with an offer. Then the negotiation would continue and more term sheets would follow. Once I signed, it was a different story. I can’t imagine that it is much different, but maybe it is. Someone ought to ask Keith Law in a chat.

  26. How disappointed would a player agent be when a mid-market team that doesn’t make plays for top free agents won’t speak to him anymore? Not very would be my guess.

  27. Im starting to thank the Dodgers. Now we really have two realistic options.

    #1 – get (not go after) Lowe or Sheets, Bradley, Dunn, or Burrell, and Smoltz

    #2 – trade Chipper and whoever else isnt in long term plans

    #2 wont happen under Bobby

  28. As far as needing a RH bat to put between Chip and McCann, why don’t we just bat escobar there? He’s not a classic cleanup hitter, but he is going to bat around 300 with some OBP. Plus he won’t be losing tons of ABs bunting the leadoff man over.

  29. OMG. The Hawks radio announcers were shocked that Bibby hit the rim on a 3 point attempt. That’s a little sad.

  30. Stand corrected, Mac. Still, I don’t see Wren being fired based on performance inside that time frame, even with a last place team.

  31. So how long is it before Blanc and Terwilliger can buy this team?

    Maybe they can cleanse the Cox influence.

    Where would Chipper go and what could we get for him?

  32. I’d be surprised if there was an industry backlash against Wren here. These events certainly haven’t helped his standing, but I’d bet most other GMs feel more like he got screwed than that he’s “weak” or something.

    But frankly whatever we think is 99% conjecture. I guess I just think the Furcal thing reflects more on his agents than Frank Wren.

  33. There are a couple of great quotes in the ESPN writeup of Sammy Baugh, who died today:

    “There’s nobody any better than Sam Baugh was in pro football,” Don Maynard, a fellow West Texas Hall of Famer who played for Baugh, said in a 2002 interview. “When I see somebody picking the greatest player around, to me, if they didn’t go both ways, they don’t really deserve to be nominated. I always ask, ‘Well, how’d he do on defense? How was his punting?”

    and, about today’s game:

    “I’ll watch it all damn day long,” Baugh, who often sprinkled his conversation with mild obscenities, told The Associated Press in a 2002 interview. “I like the football they play. They got bigger boys, and they’ve also got these damn speed merchants that we didn’t have in those days. I’d love to be quarterback this day and time.”

    Two archetypes of old guys reflecting on the changes they’ve witnessed. It’s easy, but lazy, to generalize that one is right and the other wrong. I think anyone who has lived a long life probably has a little Maynard and a little Baugh in them.

  34. While I admit I still do enjoy this blog, I just continually have to laugh at the constant stream of “lets not sign anyone” or “lets not overpay for X player” or “hey don’t trade prospect X, he’s only 6 *years* away from being ready!”

    THE TEAM STINKS at almost every position. We NEED new players and if anyone will take ours we need to do it.

  35. No prospect is six years from being ready. Three years, four years max. But if the team was as bad as you say it is (which it is not) trading prospects would be insane.

  36. Well the 6 years ditty was hyperbole, but my point remains that this board is paralyzed in fear of making a trade/signing a free agent/parting with prospects(which really should almost always be referred to as suspects and I would trade them for an established well above replacement value player almost without fail), when outside of Chipper and maybe Escobar, there aren’t many major league regulars that wouldn’t be better than what we have at probably 5-6 of the positions.

    It just gets comical at the level of fear/dread/scared poopless nature of many on this board.

  37. Knee jerk reactions are exactly not what we need. Yes we suck now and cannot realistically hope to win this year with our collection of players. Everything we do must still make sense.

    Just because we have major holes doesn’t mean we should recklessly address them. I may debate or question the wisdom of a move, but if it makes sense I’ll be fully on board. Trading Escobar for Peavy doesn’t make the most sense to me, but it does make sense, and I could be happy about it.

    We still have lots of options and flexibility. Dont freak out.

  38. Chief, the purpose of this blog is not to come up with a majority decision, it’s just to voice out individual opinion. So, let’s be thankful that we are not a senior board or something similar. Otherwise, nothing will ever be agreed.

  39. I blame Bud Selig for this. I don’t really know why, but I like to blame him for everything that goes wrong in baseball. Boras is a close second.

    Also, who does Wren report to now? Who would fire him? I don’t know anything about the Liberty Media execs, but I’m at least glad (and kind of surprised) that they’re increasing payroll.

  40. I thought the purpose of this blog was for me to burn brain cells and hours and hours of life trying to convince everyone that I am right and to make those of you who are wrong (you know who you are, or you will soon) feel bad for being wrong.

  41. And a 17 year old first year player is not (except for a few players who will move up rapidly, as Heyward did) a prospect in any real sense, and also usually can’t be traded (because he is too recently signed). The main point is still that if the team needs to rebuild, trading minor leaguers is exactly what you should not do, because you can’t build a team by trading minor leaguers. It just doesn’t work: it’s a treadmill strategy and at best you stay in the same place. And unless you’re the Yankees or Red Sox, you can’t afford to have a team made up entirely of established veterans, because the going price for players like that is ten million a year and you wind up with a $160 million payroll. Even the Red Sox have some young, cheap players developed in their farm system, so really it’s just the Yankees. If the Braves are going to compete for a championship in the next five years, it will pretty much have to be with Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward in key roles.

  42. kc,

    TBH I didn’t really mean anything rude, but it just is striking to me the commonality of the reluctance to make “insert rumored trade or FA signing here”.

    I mean someone would shoot holes in ANY trade contemplated no matter how good it would be.

    I would have done that Peavy deal twice on Sundays. A bunch of “guys” for a multiple Cy Young winner and perennial candidate?

    When it all comes down to it, Escobar while having great defense and a 155mm howitzer for an arm, is just a guy and is NEVER going to be a 25 HR guy.

  43. @59.

    That’s not really true. I think most here were on board with the Vasquez trade (at least when the final terms were known). And, probably more to your point, while there were some differing of views on the Teixeira deal, most understood the reasoning behind it. In any case, there wasn’t a crippling fear against pulling the trigger as you describe.

    I think the point that many make, which you are quick to dismiss, is best stated by looking at Baseball America’s top 10 for the Texas Rangers.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2009/267282.html

    Their #1 and #4 prospects look kind of familiar. AND that doesn’t include the catcher who was the centerpiece of the deal and the pitcher who will probably have a spot in their rotation this year. You can only do a trade like that so many times.

    It’s easy to say a situation is black and white, but usually it’s always shades of grey.

  44. If Peavy’s contract is cheaper, then I would have done that deal. But the fact is Peavy’s contract is NOT cheap at all. Besides, Peavy doesn’t want to come anyway, ha.

  45. I think the consensus was that every one of us here would have been thrilled to get Peavy, but some of us thought the going price was more than he should cost us, especially because of Escobar.

    Just because Escobar will never be as good or as valuable as Peavy doesn’t mean its a no brainer to trade him. You need those young guys in prominent roles who cost less than they are worth in order to compete for titles.

    Still, I think almost all of us would have been pleased and excited. Poking holes sometimes is just a mental exercise to spur debate and its fun for some of us on here to engage in those debates.

  46. I didn’t mind trading Andrus that much, but I was really shocked with Feliz’s inclusion. It was JS’s final year, so I am giving him some slack for that.

  47. I agree with Chief. There are some people who seemingly want the Braves to do nothing. Not trade prospects (Peavy) or pay cash (Burnett). Well than, what do some suggest? Odds are if the Braves do not spend their remaining 35 million, Liberty Media will just cut whatever isn’t spent from the payroll permanently anyways.

    This team stinks to high-heaven right now. No one is saying go insane, but geez, with all the money to spend and minor league talent available for trades, I really can’t see why this team can’t or shouldn’t get a real left fielder and a top-of-the-rotation pitcher to at least try and stay competitive next season. 35 million. Why not Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn or Pat Burrell? Why can’t this team give Smoltz the six million or whatever he wants?

    I mean someone would shoot holes in ANY trade contemplated no matter how good it would be.

    Thank you! Seriously. Everything: Peavy, Burnett, Vasquez, Dave Ross, Furcal….everything is crapped on by the same unappeasables. It is mostly the “prospects” crowd and their constant 5 year plan to win the World Series. The team, no matter WHAT, is always 3-5 years away.

    Anyways, love the smack-down here from Wren.

    Paul Kinzer, early today: “I’m embarrassed and I’m sure Frank is embarrassed,” Kinzer said.

    Frank Wren, now: “We’re not embarrassed,” Wren said. “We’re mad a deal wasn’t honored. I can understand why he’s embarrassed.”

  48. I’m very much in favor of spending the money. Spend it on one or two year deals, overpay if you have to. Waste it if you have to. Trade for Mike Lowell. The whole point is to spend it, somehow — but not cripple the team in 2010.

  49. I’d prefer we spend money on short term deals that make us respectable short term and flexible longer term. We have hardly anyone signed beyond 2010 but a lot of guys cost controlled and a lot of guys coming up. We’re in good shape, I’d hate to see us get stuck with a bad contract we want out of. Right now we have zero bad contracts and that is remarkable.

  50. Was typing when Mac’s post went up at 78. I agree with him completely on that. We are in such good shape for 2010 or 2011 if we play our cards right.

  51. I’m very much in favor of spending the money. Spend it on one or two year deals, overpay if you have to. Waste it if you have to. Trade for Mike Lowell. The whole point is to spend it, somehow — but not cripple the team in 2010.

    That works for me. How about:

    Pat Burrell, 2YRS/30M with a 3rd year option

    Brian Fuentes: 2YRS/30M

    John Smoltz, 1YR/5M

    There is your 35 million locked up short term. I think it is at least somewhat realistic. And you get one of everything: starter, reliever and bat.

  52. Wait 15 million/year for Brian Fuentes?

    The point is to overpay so he’ll take a two year deal. I’m pretty sure he is seeking a three year deal.

    But I like the Sheets suggestion a lot better. I forgot about him.

  53. We don’t need Fuentes per se, so I wouldn’t give him 5 million.

    But Sheets, yeah. I’m on board.

  54. 77–good to see Wren giving Kinzer the hell he apparently deserves.

    78&79–spot on–spend some bucks on short term deals that don’t blow prospects or constrict the budget long term.

    81–$40m is too much but I wonder if Manny would be tempted to get the highest single season salary ever–that would require $32+ million.

  55. Ethan, we may disagree on Big 12 football, but you hit the nail on the head when you say Wren shouldn’t have stated ‘we need two quality pitchers and we need to upgrade the outfield.’ That’s just plain dumb to say because when it doesn’t happen, for whatever reason, whether you have complete control over it or not, it pisses people off.

    This whole situation reminds me of when the Cavs thought they had a verbal, handshake agreement with Carlos Boozer to re-sign so they ripped up his contract and he went to Utah. This isn’t nearly as bad for the Braves, but Mac’s right, if a team pulled a stunt like this, the union would certainly have their panties in a wad.

    kc is correct to point out, this has happened to Schuerholz with Bonds, it just didn’t leak out to the media. I blame Wren, or whoever leaked this to Rosenthal, etc. That’s where the Braves look foolish. I would be willing to bet that this sure as hell won’t happen again. I find it utterly dumb that a team would let this leak out before a contract was signed, or at least the player was in town getting ready to take his physical. You don’t count your money until it’s in the register. In today’s rush for information and teams wanting to give all the information to their fans to show them they are ‘working hard’ crap like this happens.

  56. Catching lightening in a bottle like the Rays did with prospects is not going to happen for every team.

    Out of 10 prospects we have, maybe 1 or 2 maybe will bear fruit.

    It’s just a SABR/prospect crowd and that’s just the bottom line.

  57. I think Manny likes LA too much, I think he ends up with the Angels or the Dodgers.

    We’ll see how bad Bobby and the FO want to win another ring, because if they were, they would give Manny 2/50 with a vesting third year and make him say no.

  58. In their defense, the Braves are very rarely the source of leaks (or at least weren’t under JS). We were the “mystery team” until Monday.

  59. But the thing is that the Braves were talking about the Furcal deal before it was done. Js would have never done that. Wren was setting up his locker for reporters it seemed like.

    Too much stuff is getting in the press. Way more than should be.

  60. Chief,

    we only need two of them to really bear fruit as you say. Heyward and Hanson, if they pan out, fill 2 holes in the roster. Jurrjens, KJ, Escobar, McCann plus those two guys would provide the foundation for a very solid team.

  61. Here’s one “unappeasable”‘s perspective — if you have a budget, it’s only okay to overspend for a free agent or in a trade if that acquisition is what you need to get over the top. Flags fly forever, and all that. In that case, spend the money and/or trade the top prospects.

    But if you need three or four major pieces, as the Braves do, signing a bunch of guys who only have a couple of good years left is clearly counterproductive. You can blame what’s happened so far on Wren if you want to, but the real story is 30 teams and half that many available established players where we need help, and we’re supposed to sign three of them? That’s turning market forces into tales of managerial ineptitude.

    I want to see a team built for long-term contention, and I don’t give a damn whether Smoltz, Glavine, Chipper, Cox, or Scheurholz get another ring. Theirs are stories of professional success already. They aren’t going to hang it up with any bitterness about what might have been, so I’m not going to be bitter on their behalf.

  62. Also, the Braves very much appear like an organization that nobody wants to play for anymore, which is very depressing.

    It’s like they are rolling into the Bunny Ranch with $10,000 and they can’t even buy a hooker. HELLO, I have money.

  63. Mac–You are probably over reacting, but then Wren has not been impressive. I don’t blame him for this–but I do hold him responsible for presenting it to the public. Here, I would fault him for being careless.

    That said, I think many people will begin to criticize Wren for his judgements–last year it was the way he overpaid for trades and in this offseason his recklessness with the press has now been adequately exhibited.

    The good news is that the Braves can still do many things to improve themselves for 2009 and so it is too early to speculate on Wren’s removal…..

  64. 93 – also, wasn’t it Furcal’s agent, Kinzer, who gave the quote that Furcal was close to the Braves? Then Rosenthal picked it up?

    I just don’t recall anyone in the Braves organization publicly posting any welcome signs or well wishes to Furcal…seems like the real a-hole here is Kinzer.

  65. The Braves don’t control the website, though you have to assume that very little goes up there they don’t approve of. My understanding is that Furcal has two agents, and one was saying one thing and the other was saying something different.

  66. Okay, here’s the Player Analysis I wrote for Furcal. Should I just assume now that KJ and Escobar are the middle infield?

    Rafael Furcal Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

    So, this guy’s back. The large question is about his back, which caused him to miss most of last year, and you have to assume stifled his power in 2007, when he slugged a career-low .355. Rafael had one of his best years with the Dodgers in 2006, then his worst year (by far) that season. Last season he was limited to 36 games, but tore the cover off of the ball (.357/.439/.573) when he was able to go. He was (rather unfairly) labeled the goat when the Dodgers lost the NLCS, after making three errors, but even if he’d been great they would have lost.

    The Braves made this move at least in part out of their desire for a “leadoff hitter”. I am on record as saying that the concept of a leadoff hitter is basically stupid; there are good hitters and there are bad hitters. Stolen bases really aren’t a big deal, and it is obvious to anyone who actually looks at the matter that this is so; there’s basically no correlation between scoring runs and stealing bases. But they’re fun to watch, and they don’t really hurt the team.

    Furcal is basically an average hitter, a little above in batting average and on-base, a little below in power. His value comes with his ability to play a key defensive position well. If he can’t play shortstop at his normal level, or if he plays second base because the Braves prefer Escobar at short, he’s not a championship level player.

    Furcal is the Atlanta stolen base leader, passing Otis Nixon late in his last season with the Braves, and nobody’s going to catch him now:

    STOLEN BASES SB
    1 Rafael Furcal 189
    2 Otis Nixon 186
    3 Jerry Royster 174
    4 Dale Murphy 160
    5 Ron Gant 157
    T6 Andruw Jones 138
    T6 Chipper Jones 138
    8 Ralph Garr 137
    9 Claudell Washington 115
    10 Gerald Perry 105

  67. The Chief is right. No one here wants to trade prospects EVER and we all want the team to suck next year. That’s why everyone here was always talking about how shitty the Vazquez deal was. We were all like, “Veteran pitcher for prospects? What an awful deal!” No one was like, “Hey, look, a reasonable deal where we give up some useful prospects but get enough back that it’ll probably be worth it!”

    Nope, we’re all just reactionaries who hate players that aren’t still in the minors.

  68. All this righteous indignation about term sheets is really interesting coming from a team that pulled the rug out from under Stu when JS gave up the GM position. My sources tell me that JS had promised Stu the job but when he informed Wren that he would not be taking over as GM, Wren lost his mind. No one but Wren knows what happened next (because Wren wasn’t GM yet to leak it to the press) but the following morning, Wren had assumed the GM position and Stu was banished to the internets where he has the power only to amuse this community.

    I had a corner office picked out and was looking forward to stinkpalming Omar Minyana when introduced to him as assistant GM of the Braves under Stu.

    It vexes me. I’m terribly vexed.

  69. Just putting this out there, and coming from a serial lurker it doesn’t hold any weight, but what about changing the tag from epic fail? The last 6 months have been nothing but epic failure for the Braves, and I’m not usually superstitious, but…you get my drift.

  70. The tag line cannot be responsible for our troubles because Frank Wren is not in charge of any aspect involving it.

  71. JP–I would add that the Furcal Fiasco is the approrpiate way for 2008 to end for the Braves. What an awful year–and that goes for much more than took place on the field….

  72. Don’t it though, smitty?

    @56, Hear, hear, why not get both? Bobby is supposed to be the master of clubhouse chemistry. Let this be his biggest challenge yet

  73. That’s a generalization. Sure we’re all reactionary…this is the internet and this is a blog. Instant reaction is implied.

  74. Oh, Furcal. My dad will be disappointed.

    Dix, love the post about poor Stu. Turned out to be a good deal for us. heh heh.

    Perhaps this has already been mentioned — The creator of the baseball card blog is hanging it up. Neyer recently linked to his last post. Definitely a winner: http://baseballcardblog.blogspot.com/2008/12/casey-at-bat.html

    Flew into Richmond today. Took 295 instead of 64 to my in-laws’. Makes sense to avoid some traffic and I didn’t want to go by the Diamond. Sure, I’ve only seen a few games there… but I just miss that connection through the AAA team. Oh well. Need to let it go.

  75. @ 109: Skip’s passing, Pete’s retiring, everything on the field…it’s been a long year.

    Here’s hoping we start 2009 off the right way: Francoeur, Prado and random guy only Dayton Moore has heard of to KC for Greinke on New Year’s Day.

  76. 1st – Tazawa
    2nd – Hampton
    3rd – Peavy
    4th – Burnett
    5th – Furcal

    two things…why are we after the most injury prone players and how do you continue to miss out? Im just baffled at everything right now. Wren has to find a way to get a good starter (Lowe or Sheets) and a good bat (Bradley, Dunn, Burrell, not Rivera) and probably needs to get something done soon. I dont see how trades could really help us. Yunel isnt a piece that we can move and we need KJ’s bat more than ever.

  77. Didn’t Furcal bust his car’s oil pan by running up on a curb or median during one of his “incidents”, and stopped to buy motor oil when his oil light came on? I know it has to be something along those lines, because my Dad has called him “Oil Pan” for a while now

  78. How can you possibly blame this on Wren? What was he supposed to do? Throw more money at him… that’s desperation, and we are not desperate. Frank isn’t weak, he’s a man, he sticks to his word, which is why he fits this organization so well. JS isn’t an idiot, he knew who Frank was when he picked him.

    Truth is, even with AJ and Furcal we were still going to be considered the third best team going into the year. Without those guys we’ve still got a shot, as long as we can stay healthy for once… Bobby Cox has caught lightning in a bottle before.

    Wren knows the real goal here is to have a Championship caliber team on the field in 2010, 2009 is going to be as close to a rebuilding year as the Braves will ever see, and that’s a good thing. We’ve got a lot of talent that is nearing ML-ready, and we’ve got to see where the chips fall. We DON’T need to be throwing money around for the sake of it… which is why we won’t be pursuing Bradley, Dunn or Burrell (who just don’t fit the Braves mold)… I’d love to see us get in on Sheets for a reasonable gamble that may hit paydirt.

    Wren will not be fired. I told you all two days ago we wouldn’t sign Fookie, so you can bank on that.

  79. Gadfly–I certainly agree that even with Furcal and A.J. we would only be the third best team in the division.

    I don’t blame the Furcal Fiasco on Wren, but he might have handled it better.

    As many of us have said, the emphasis must be on rebuilding….

  80. I’m sorry, but Frank Wren does look like a complete idiot and this situation is making our organization look like a laughingstock. I’m afraid there is almost zero chance that we attract any good free agents now unless we overpay for them considerably. And you can forget about a restarting of that deal with Peavy. Frankly, that overpaying thing now probably applies to any other trades we’ll try to make. I will say this for a third time: with three times he was left holding the bag, it is virtually impossible that some of this isn’t at least partially Wren’s fault. If he didn’t really want these people, he wouldn’t have been so publicly in the running for all of them. You can’t just say, “Oh well, we probably didn’t need or want those guys anyway.” The fact is that Wren wanted them and he didn’t get any of them.

    The case of Burnett is far more damning than anyone on here has even come close to admitting. He knew he was gonna wind up in a bidding war with the Yankees. And he knew he was gonna have to overpay. He obviously wasn’t nearly as ambivalent towards the deal as people around here are, otherwise he wouldn’t have been so public about the damn offers. And in the end, he let the Yankees outbid him by $2.5 million by all accounts. I’m sorry, but that makes him look like a fool. If he was willing to pay $80 million, how the hell is he not willing to pay $82.5 or $85 million or rework the deal in some other way to have one fewer year but more money per year with a fifth-year option? Just freaking do something! This is your guy! This is the guy you wanted! The guy you think you’re gonna build your rotation next year around! But no, he let the Yankees outbid him by $2.5 million for a pitcher that they frankly didn’t care all that much if they had one way or the other, but that he desperately wanted and needed based on his plans. That is buffoonish. Again, whether or not you wanted him is completely irrelevant. And I think it might have contributed to Furcal’s agent thinking he could play him like a fool, because at the very least, Wren doesn’t fight at all for players that he wants. He backs away meekly when the going gets tough and just let’s someone else have them. And that is a severe problem.

    Whether or not you think these players would’ve put us in playoff contention is also completely irrelevant. While people who weren’t in favor of these deals may have gotten what they wanted in the end, they way they got it does not help us at all, because it makes our organization look weak and buffoonish. If you don’t really want them, you do not go full-bore after them, only to meekly let them slip away in the end. You just don’t go after them at all.

  81. Man, there are some serious self-esteme issues coming to light here. If not with yourself then with your team.

    Do we honestly think that the FAs out there are all thinking to themselves, “Man, did you see how that guy’s agent used them to get a bigger deal with another club? What a bunch of chumps! No way I want to play for them!”? I mean, maybe if they were in middle school or something.

    I’m reasonably sure this is a much bigger deal to us than it is to anyone else in the baseball community.

  82. It makes our organization look like a slipshod operation. Would you want to work for a slipshod organization? It does matter.

  83. One thing about the 2.5 million dollar difference–it is significantly more expensive to live in NYC than in Atlanta. Burnett’s compensation, then, like Furcal’s would have been roughly the same with Atlana, which means that they chose the Yankees and the Dodgers for other reasons. I am guessing that both want to play for ‘winners’ and maybe both (or their agents) doubt that the Braves are likely to be successful anytime soon.

    I hope that it is not the case, but I do think we are seeing the results of a credibility problem…

  84. And we’re also forgetting about the Hampton situation, which was a fourth instance where it’s really probably not his fault. But just like the Peavy and Burnett situations, the reasons given for not getting it done appear to be largely based in silly BS. Things like an hour extra flight time, an extra minor leaguer, drive time to Baltimore and agents thinking they can renege on a verbal agreement should not be getting in the way of deals. The fact that something stupid seems to get in the way of every deal has to make you think that Wren is unwilling to work with teams and players to work out problems such as these. To lose one or two of these deals is understandable, to lose all four is not.

  85. And BTW, I really hope I’m wrong, but at this point, I think it’s likely that Smoltz will be playing elsewhere next year, and that our potential deal with him will also fall apart for no real reason, and that it will appear as if it’s not Wren’s fault, but that Smoltz just decided to go elsewhere. I would put the chances at 60-40 in favor of this scenario at this point.

  86. But Nick… your forgetting about signing David Ross to a generous contract…Wren got his man!

  87. The sky is falling!! We failed two sign two cripples, a prima donna, and a guy who’s wife is afraid of flying (my guess is because she’s seven years old).

    We should just give up forever!!

  88. Why are we suddenly so care about Hampton? As for Burnett, I think he honestly like the AL more and doesn’t want to be an ace of a pitching staff…loser…he deserves to be a Yankee.

    And what did Wren do wrong on the Peavy “deal”? I don’t get it. Come on guys, he is our team’s GM. Give him some support.

  89. Okay Nick, so you get to be amateur GM, how do you fix any of these situations?

    Overpay for Burnett (which probably wouldn’t have worked anyways)? Overpay for Peavy? Overpay for Hampton (which might not have worked at all anyways?) Or maybe you think he should’ve overpaid for Furcal after he reneged on a verbal agreement? Perhaps we should take Raffy to court, and make him play for us, that would certainly help…

    Wren will put together the best team that he can responsibly put together. So far this offseason I’d rate his work at a B+. By not caving in and throwing money, or mortgaging the future, he’s shown he knows how to guide an organization. I’m disappointed that we haven’t landed a coveted ace, or a superstar to add to the lineup, but I would be 100x more disappointed if we’d sold the future to put together a team that could just as easily end up being also-rans as the team we will field in April.

  90. I think Wren was right to go after Burnett and maybe he should have been able to get the job done.

    More important, nothing that has been lost as been essential. The Braves still have the means to significantly improve their team before 2009.

    That doesn’t mean that the frustrations of so many Braves’ fans are without merit….

  91. Nick, I hope you’re wrong about Smoltz, I really do, but at this point, it would not surprise me in the least, and quite honestly, I wouldn’t really blame him. He’s turned down less money soo many times.

    You are dead on correct about Burnett. I mean we’re talking about money here. If you really want him, then ‘overpay’ by $8-$10 million. Who cares ? If he’s really your guy, which is another ‘nother debate, then you do what it takes. You really can’t hide an extra $1.5-$2 million per year in payroll over the course of 4 or 5 years ?? Don’t sign Chris Woodward. Don’t sign Craig Wilson. Don’t sign David Ross, it’s not hard to shave that payroll off the books if it really is necessary down the road. That boggles my mind just as much as it does yours Nick. Especially when you add in the fact that you’re also trying to attract other free agents. You’re equally as likely to see a domino effect in a positive direction when you sign a guy like that as we have all seen the domino effect when you don’t. That’s what pisses me off about Furcal and Burnett. It’s just money, and there is supposedly money to spend. No draft picks, no players, just money. End rant.

  92. jj3bagger–You are right about the ‘domino effect’–and I would add that it works in reverse as well. Because we are unable to sign the players Wren sought, it may become increasingly difficult to get quality free agents now and in the future….

  93. Kinzer vs. Wren…it is Kinzer’s JOB to get the most for his client; it is Wren’s JOB to put together the best team he can, with the payroll he has to work with.

    If Kinzer used the Braves offer to better his client’s money with the Dodgers, then he bested Wren, and Wren was used. Kinzer simply was better at his JOB then Wren was.

    Outrage at the actions of an agent? How many MLB teams say they won’t deal with Scott Boras? And tell me, how does that work out for them?

    Whether after the fact you are happy or not happy with signing Furcal, the fact is your GM wanted to do so, and he was schooled by Furcal’s agent. That is not a good reflection on the man who got used. I have very little confidence in Wren, right now.

  94. Also, not sure Furcal’s agent got the best deal for him. That vesting option is virtually unattainable.

    Maybe it was the Dodgers that schooled Kinzer, Furcal, and Wren.

  95. Folks, while I recognize that it is not uncommon for bloggers to overreact, the last 12-18 hours have been a bit over the top. This isn’t the end of the Braves organization or its ability to get FAs. It seems very likely that the respect (usually) given to term sheets generally benefits players and clubs alike. I strongly suspect that most players, agents, and GMs will see this for what it is … an agent who abused the commonly used rules of the game. Even Kinzer did not really defend his own conduct.

    It’s been a rough stretch for Wren and co. the last few weeks, but I think he comes out of the Furcal negotiations looking like someone more concerned about his organization and the integrity of the negotiation process than someone concerned about the optics of a deal that craters. I like that, and I’ll bet a lot of baseball people like that, whether or not most bloggers do or not.

  96. So maybe Frank Wren is in line to win the Mr. Congeniality award, among his peers. Me, I’ll take the winner of the beauty contest.

    This isn’t a business school class where everyone has a light chuckle and a cocktail later, about how the exercise ended up, and Frank Wren should know that by now. If he doesn’t, what were his 10 years of apprenticeship about?

    Integrity of the negotiating process? In the business world, there is no deal until you sign a contract. Just pick up any paper, any day; you see this every day. it is not a lack of ethics; there is horse-trading until someone wins, and the deal is signed.

    Frank took a victory lap about 12 hours too early, and he was made a fool of by the agent for Furcal.

    We can make our own judgment about whether we are better off not having Furcal at $10,000,000.00 per, for 4 years, but your GM has already made that decision; he says we were, and we were ready to pay it. Frank Wren just cannot execute.

  97. I think Wren might have been slightly encouraged by Kinzer telling Ken Rosenthal it was all sorted.

    If Kinzer doesn’t do that, then the news doesn’t leak and the Braves have nothing to confirm.

  98. Bfan, you could not be more mistaken. I suspect you have no idea what happens in “the business world.” Verbal agreements (certainly in my experience) are routinely honored, and depending on the subject matter of the agreement, are enforceable in court. In general verbal agreements relating to employment (i.e., player agreements) or to the transfer of real property are not enforceable because of the unique treatment each has in our legal history (employment protections arising out of the slavery era and land contracts being historically recognized only in the King’s court of law, not in equity).

    As for the victory lap, making public player agreements based on term sheets is standard practice and for good reason. It helps to enforce the standard rules of the game that verbal agreements be honored. Here Kinzer/Furcal backed out and you see the PR ramifications.

  99. By David O’Brien

    December 18, 2008 1:49 AM | Link to this

    AP had wrong contract figures earlier. It’s actually just a three-year, $30 mill deal with $12 mill vesting option, not a $33 mill deal with $13 mill option.

    Makes it look even worse for Braves, in that he took same guaranteed money, just a couple mill more in the option (which vests with 600 plate appearances in the third year).

    And his salary is apparently only $6.5 mill next season, then goes to $8.5 million in 2010, $12 million in 2011 and he gets a $3 million bonus at the end of the contract.

  100. While I agree that a disturbing trend is starting to show itself, I really don’t see how this can be laid at Wren’s feet. If contract sheets are viewed as being the equivalent of a verbal agreement then I can’t think of anything Wren could realistically do about it, except for exploring any possible action against Kinzer, Furcal, and maybe even the Dodgers. Verbal agreements r serious business.

    I’m on board with AAR’s idea of Wren going on a 5 day binge, waking up in a condemned house and wearing strange clothes, holding a signed contract for Adam Dunn.

  101. Judging Wren just on what he’s accomplished this season — getting Vazquez, not breaking the bank for Burnett, not signing Furcal — I’m fairly happy with the results. As mraver (I think) said recently, we haven’t done anything stupid yet, and that’s a good thing.

    But the process exposed Wren as weak. And leverage in negotiations depends a great deal on your perception of what the other guy will be willing to take. Wren has shown that he won’t be bullied into increasing his offer beyond a certain point, like with Burnett and Peavy. This is a good thing.

    However, he has also shown that he can be played. Both Towers and Paul Kinzer have given the Braves to believe (or leaked to the national media to believe) that Peavy and Furcal were all but done deals, and they weren’t. They wouldn’t have done this if they believed Wren had the ability to punish them for their behavior. We’ll find out over the next few days, weeks, and months whether Kinzer becomes a pariah in baseball for having violated the sanctity of a terms sheet; if he doesn’t, then others will feel they can exploit Wren, as Mac suggests. Wren comes off as gullible, a guy who can be bullied. And will hurt him in future negotiations.

  102. Alex, how is Wren supposed to have punished them? And if Kinzer doesn’t become a pariah, isn’t that more a signal to all agents and GMs that terms sheets are no longer indicative of a deal, rather than a situation where agents will start lining up at Wren’s door with terms sheets? mraver is right — there’s too much application of schoolyard logic around here.

  103. @133 and others – do you guys really believe all it took was spending a few more million$ to get Burnett? You don’t think the Yankees were going to offer more regardless? Basically, we (and anyone else but the Red Sox) don’t have a chance this winter to get a free agent willing to go to NY that the Yankees want. We had to hope he had a preference for ATL that overrode getting paid more, and that’s it.

    Now, there are some free agents somewhere who the Yanks and Sox aren’t going after, and we prob. have to get 1 or 2 (or trade), and prob. “overpay” — though signing free agents almost always means that.

    If we don’t end up spending most of the payroll room we have before the start of the season, then it’s fair to unload on the front office.

  104. I cannot see how not signing Furcal is a good move by Wren; Wren wanted to do so, and he just failed. If you think it would be stupid to sign Furcal, you cannot give Wren credit for not signing him; Wren tried…he just couldn’t.

    I think all in all, Wren is shown as weak and way too innocent for the job he now has.

  105. I’m familiar with the business world, but the baseball world, while part of that world, is also a world unto itself. And Frank Wren got schooled. I just don’t know how you can argue that away. Yes, perhaps it was for the best, and yes, perhaps Furcal’s agents played unfairly, but ultimately they did not play so unfairly that they broke the law or did anything that Wren has to know they couldn’t do to get their deal.

    I don’t have much confidence in Wren, but it has to do with the larger body of work, not this situation alone. I was furious about how we went about dealing with the outfield in 2007 and I’m aghast once again at our attempts to fill our ‘needs.’ Why are we not after Dunn? I would rather have given him the money that we wanted to give Burnett. And if paying a top-flight starter AND Dunn is out of our range, then why are we not trafficking in outfielders, the most undervalued, oversupplied commodity this offseason? Instead, we’re involved in bidding wars for overpriced players with teams from New York and Los Angeles, and in this market that’s a fool’s errand.

    In a way, I like the Peavy deal, so long as it’s done in conjunction with several other deals. We need to re-up Smoltz, we need to sign a genuine outfield bat, and we could also trade little to land a one-year rental in Ankiel, a solid CF to boot. I don’t see this as out of our price range. Perhaps Bradley/Abreu/Burrell, Ankiel, Smoltz, and even Peavy could all be had–depending on how much that free agent bat cost. I just don’t understand why we’ve been bothering with guys like Burnett and Furcal, overpriced and injuryprone as they are.

  106. Why was signing another shortstop a priority? A major league caliber right fielder and another starter seem like more pressing issues.

    Is there any evidence to date Frank Wren has a clue?

  107. I think signing Furcal would have been a great move if it allowed Wren to make a package for Peavy or Greinke (and possibly a corner OF). Every indication was that this is what Wren had in the works. Otherwise, signing Furcal would have been a neutral move – low risk but not solving the need for an SP and OF.

    Others have said it and I agree, if Wren ends up getting Peavy, Greinke, or a similar SP for a reasonable price, he will have proven his ability in a tough market.

  108. I love the post at #68. It’s actually my life mantra…wreck the car, Blame Bud then Borass. get in a fight with my wife…blame Bud then Borass. Fail to be productive at work…why blame Bud then Borass. I’m on board.

    The point Mac and I wanted to make (and I think Smitty as well might agree w/ this) is that if Furcal and his piece of crap agent had done this to JS, Kinzer might end up in a ditch somewhere. Only Borass is powerful enough to not be intimidated by JS.

    And in another Wren offseason failure, he lost all his conference games this year at Iowa State…oh wait, that was Gene Chizik, my bad….

  109. Geez, I hope Esco isn’t used to pick up just an OF. But that’s the point, I assume Wren is looking now at packing Esco or KJ and some prospects (and maybe Francouer) off for an SP/OF combo. Otherwise, if that’s not available, he’ll just buy a somewhat less valuable FA SP and OF and punt til next year.

  110. #154- Jeff K, at this point I dont see how we could move Escobar

    seriously Wren should just give Smoltz and Sheets decent two year deals and then get one of Manny, Burrell, Dunn, or Bradley

    adding Sheets, Vasquez, one OF, Schafer and/or Hanson, hopefully a healthy Smoltz, Moylan, Soriano, and a full year of Gonzo can keep us competitive

  111. I don’t see how any of this can be laid at Wren’s feet (although there is a lot we don’t know). To the extent these fiascos reflect anything, I think they reflect the general state of the Braves and the fact that players don’t see the Braves any longer as a sure shot for the playoffs. The Braves used to be a desired destination for players; now they are seen, I believe, as an organization with relatively tight ownership, a manager who won’t be around much longer, playing in a division with two big-spending powerhouses, with a team that is probably not a serious contender. The fact that their farm system is well-thought of is irrelevant to current players. The idea that Wren should be able to “punish” players or agents for crossing him is sort of bizaare since players aren’t that interested in playing in Atlanta anyway. All the juice now, I think is in NY, Boston, Chicago, etc. teams that are desireable destinations. At one time, agents probably were afraid to cross JS but that was more a reflection of what the Braves were than on any particular characteristic of JS.

  112. As much as I enjoy reading this blog, sometimes I am completely amazed by the comments. And usually Mac’s posts are pretty level-headed and sensible, but this, to me, is a rare exception. I just don’t understand some of the things that have been written here over the last 12 hours. Take, for example…

    “This would never have happened to John Schuerholz. ” Really? How would you know? All of us who read and post here know as much about the interaction between baseball executives and agents as we do about brain surgery. We might know the names of the people who perform such activities, and we might know what we are told about the process by those people, but rest assured that 99% of what happens, we will never know about.

    “Frank Wren is not John Schuerholz, and right now he’s been humiliated.” Humiliated? I have yet to see anyone laughing and pointing fingers, nor should they. Let’s say you go to buy a car. You talk to the salesman, and you agree on a price. You tell the salesman to write up the agreement while you go get your checkbook. When you return, he has sold the same car to another person for the same price. Now YOU are supposed to be humiliated? Pissed off, yes. Humiliated, no. Now maybe HE should be ashamed because he broke the sacred “verbal agreement” but he’s probably not, otherwise he wouldn’t have done it. He shrugs and says, ‘Hey I sold the car, and I don’t really care who paid me for it.’ Who does this reflect more poorly on? Apparently some here would say that you are now perceived as weak and gullible to all the other car salesmen in town, because you had the rug pulled out from under you. Seriously?

    “I honestly don’t see how he doesn’t wind up a laughingstock, and he basically has to do something dramatic and fantastic or he will be unable to function effectively as general manager.” This has to be one of the most ridiculous, over-the-top statements I have ever read on this site.

    I just find it humorous that such a large number of you seem to think that you know more about being a baseball executive than someone who actually IS a baseball executive, and has several years of on-the-job training. If Frank Wren spent a decent portion of his day reading media reports about what some of us do at work, he might think we sucked at our jobs, too.

  113. #149. I am still a Braves fan; just not very impressed with the GM right now.

    We have all seen the positive effect a smart GM can have on a team (Falcons); I think we may see the other side of that coin now, with the Braves.

    Again, I am not saying he should or should not have signed Furcal (although it is clear Frankie wanted to). All I am saying is if that is your plan and the deal is there to finish, get the job done. I am not unhappy they didn’t get Furcal; I am unhappy with how bumbling Frankie looks right now, as an indicator of how good (or not) he is in his job.

    It occurs to me that Wren is very indecisive (Frenchie to MS; oh wait a minute, he has 13 AB’s there and he is fine, Frenchie to ATL), which is usually a sign of someone who doesn’t feel good about his position or his skills.

  114. You guys are mad for all the wrong reasons.

    If you’re going to be annoyed with Wren about the Furcal situation, be annoyed that he was even interested in signing Furcal in the first place.

    Nick,

    I am really very curious what you would have done regarding all 3 unsuccessful deals thus far. If I had to take a guess as what you’d do I’d say you’d overpay and get the deals done whatever the cost once you committed publicly to wanting those players. Surely you see the importance of drawing the line over which you are unwilling to step.

    Try to remember that the Yankees almost always get their man. Burnett wanted NY more than he wanted ATL, as demonstrated by taking less money. You do realize that Wren offered Burnett a salary that nets him more than the Yankees offer? Sabathia wanted to live in California more than he wanted to live in NY so the Yankees sweetened the deal until he couldn’t say no. We are not in position to do that, and if Wren did that even one time we’d be ruined.

  115. Rosenthal:

    The Braves were actively trying to trade second baseman Kelly Johnson for an outfielder even before they closed in on Furcal. Earlier this offseason, they discussed sending Johnson to the Cardinals for outfielder Ryan Ludwick. More recently, they dangled Johnson for Corey Hart, but the Brewers had no interest …

  116. csg – I hope Esco isn’t in the trade plans, but the reality is that he was, for Peavy, and may still be in Wren’s book. In general, I agree that a band-aid (a couple of FAs) is fine this year if a longer-term solution (Peavy, Greinke) doesn’t present itself. I would not even consider Manny unless he’s going to sign for 2 years, which I doubt he will. I also doubt he’ll be faced with having to make that decision.

  117. @162

    Chizik is at least tied for first place among potential coaching candidates as far as qualifications go. Gill was tied for last. At least, that’s my understanding based on Barkley’s comments.

  118. Which one of you submitted this headline to Fark?

    After weeks of frustration with luring free agents, the Braves finally sign a big name. Just kidding, Rafael Furcal changes his mind at the last second to stay with the Dodgers

  119. Um, does everyone remember that the Braves were in dire need of outfielders when Frenchy got called back up? Okay, you could say we were in dire need of outfielders all freaking season, but at that point they needed bodies with a heartbeat and some brainwaves (possibly optional). That’s why Frenchy came back so quickly.

  120. Um, and calling up Frenchie solved exactly what?

    It sent a horrible message (pout and you will get your way); it did nothing to address his terrible hitting problem (me see pitch me swing), which now delightfully carries into 2009, nowhere nearer to knowing whether it is fixable or not; and it solved nothing for the team (Frenchie was so far below league average as a hitter and fielder; there were better options). All for that delightful 4th place finish in the division.

  121. Yea its a good thing people are happy with Soundgarden’s cover of “Come Together”. Otherwise Wren would have even more explaining to do.

    I’m going to be sending Wren an angry letter about his decision to sign Eddie Murphy to play the Riddler in the next Batman film. And Shia Laboeuff for Robin?? Come on Frank!

    At least he got Rachel Weisz as Catwoman right, though she isn’t confirmed yet and she’ll probably back out to do a Broadway show.

  122. Agree totally with Tennessee Brave. Everyone seems vaguely angry at Wren for not getting these deals done but no one has any idea what he should have done. There is just some feeling that JS was like Vito Corleone and Wren is like Fredo. But there is no evidence of that. These guys aren’t “intimidated” by anyone. Why would an agent be intimidated by a GM? The agent has the players; it’s not like he is asking the GM to do him a favor.

    You can argue about the direction (or lack thereof) that Wren is taking the team but I think it’s ridiculous to blame him for not being some kick ass guy that all the player agents fear.

    The difference between JS and Wren, at this point, is that JS was generally in a stronger position because the Braves were a better team and had fewer holes to fill. They weren’t having to chase guys like Burnett and Peavey; JS made trades to give the Braves a better chance to win the World Series but it wasn’t as if they were going to finish fourth if they didn’t make the trades. Wren is simply in a much weaker position. Everyone knows the Braves have problems and are in a tough division.

  123. That’s why Frenchy came back so quickly.

    Not according to Wren. And at the time, Brandon Jones could have been called up instead. I believe the injury that allowed Francoeur to be recalled so quickly was to an infielder.

    I think the best explanation for the recall was that one of the Braves biggest sponsors was pissed at the Braves for demoting their spokesmodel.

  124. If one of us were Burnett we would pick the Yankees over the Braves too, more money, better team, more resources($) to improve the team, potential for playoffs and also commercial market to make some cash(promotions etc…)

    None of the FA’s we have not signed were great buys, they are all damaged goods, we have had enough of damaged goods, Hampton, Glavine, Smoltz, Kotsay and then we are complaining about not adding two guys, Furcal and Burnett who are seriously damaged.
    Peavy I would have liked, but that whole situation went down weird, i dont if we should blame Wren, Towers or Peavy himself.

    Just my two useless cents.

  125. true true, but it is fun. I love reading the divergent opinions here, it is fun and and it healthy to view the situation from so many perspective, and some of you are damned funny too.

  126. #146 and #157, here’s what I meant when I said “punish”:

    Whenever two parties negotiate, each wants to be in a position of advantage: each party wants the other one to be more desperate. When you’re less desperate, you can get away with more. You can jack up the price, you can jerk the guy around, you can hold out for a better offer, all without consequence. You don’t screw a guy if you fear the consequences.

    What are the possible consequences? Well, it looks like Wren will never deal with Kinzer again, and apparently Kinzer isn’t too worried about that. If Wren were Brian Cashman, Kinzer would never have jerked him around like that. You don’t jerk around the guy with the most cash. The only other tool Wren has at his disposal is his power of persuasion. He’ll need to convince other GMs that Kinzer is untrustworthy. If he can’t, then other agents and general managers will believe that they can continue to play with Wren’s credulity and go so far as to violate verbal agreements.

    The Mike Cameron deal’s dead, by the way, and Brewers GM Doug Melvin had something to say, obliquely, about Wren:

    “We all have followed the Jake Peavy saga and the Rafael Furcal saga,” said Melvin, referring to the drawn-out trade talks regarding Peavy and Furcal’s unsettled free-agent status. “People have to be careful when they phrase deals as, ‘done.’

    The message is, other GMs have watched what has happened to Wren this offseason, and whether it’s his fault or not, Melvin seems at least to convict him of being overenthusiastic and naive. If he’s lost the respect of his peers (and the only 29 trading partners he’ll ever have), that’ll be tough to regain.

  127. oldtimer,

    let’s clarify the Burnett situation once and for all.

    The Death Star up at Yankee Stadium gave Burnett about $2 million more over the life of his contract as opposed to the Braves offer.

    The other things you said were true and logical reasons, but Burnett cannot logically say the money was better based on living in Atlanta vs. living in New York.

  128. Can we reserve judgement on Wren at least until we see the opening day roster? I agree that it has been terribly frustrating to be so close on three big deals only to have them fall through, but I was on the fence on each deal and I don’t know that we aren’t better off. Also, one thing that many have commented on was that with JS you would not hear about a deal until it was done, well in these three cases I’m not sure FW is to blame.

    Most of the info in the Peavy deal came from Towers, Burnett seemed to be more speculating from the MSM, and the Furcal “agreement” took me by surprise when reported Tuesday.

    Also, Vasquez kind of happened quickly too.

    I agree that we don’t look great this offseason, but there is a LONG way to go before we can say for sure what kind of offseason it has been.

  129. bfan – you use ONE instance to declare Wren indecisive? Really? Give me a couple more examples and I might say you have a case. Those were strange circumstances, and it has appeared to me that Wren has been anything but indecisive. If you ask me, it looks like you are just trying to beat down a man that got screwed out of a deal. You can be unhappy with how this offseason has gone – we all should be, but so far I see no blame that can be placed on Wren at all. If anything, he has shown some restraint when he could have just given up too much to get these deals done.

  130. @179?

    so your “punishment” involves “jacking”, “jerking”, and “screwing”? Sounds like a reward to me.

  131. AAR,

    I could not disagree with you more.

    (a) Kinzer wouldn’t jerk Cashman around because everybody wants to play for the Yankees and the Yankees have an unlimited money stream. It has nothing to do with Cashman’s personal strength, and nothing in Wren’s power can mitigate the advantage Cashman has over him. Totally unfair to blame Wren for not having Cashman’s external advantages.

    (b) I think you totally misread Melvin. I don’t think that’s a jab at Wren at all. I mean, everyone knows Wren never called the Peavy deal “done,” so that half of the statement has nothing to do with him. Seems like more of a general commentary to me.

  132. Or, I read it as Melvin verbalizing the realization that now even when you think a deal is done it might not be, contrary to the former industry course of dealings.

  133. 187 & 188 – That’s how I read the Melvin quote as well. Definitely don’t see it as a slight to Wren in any way.

  134. #179 vs. #187

    Totally have to agree with AAR here Stu just adding to the disagreement we had yesterday about Wren.

    It’s far worse than I thought if that’s what other GM’s are saying about Wren and Melvin’s quote looks far more like an indictment of Wren as opposed to Kinzer.

    If you think about JS’ stint,every other GM in Baseball had the utmost respect for JS, almost revered him.

    I suppose this is analagous to Goff replacing Dooley or Zook replacing Spurrier, etc…it’s hard to replace a legend and even harder when you’re “perceived” as kind of a doofus.

  135. *dodges sky*

    You think no team has ever come in second on two free agents in the same offseason before?

    Wren has come in second on two players. Made the best offer for Peavy. Made a decent trade for a good starter with a good contract.

    The only reason the Braves are in the press so much lately is because Wren is working hard trying to make things happen to improve the team.

  136. #163 -Alex R, yes I was being very sarcastic. Im happy as a Bama fan, but he was the worst/least qualified of any of the candidates that were interviewed.

  137. so your “punishment” involves “jacking”, “jerking”, and “screwing”? Sounds like a reward to me.

    Dix, touche, sir.

    Also, Stu, I think you and I agree on point 1 about Cashman’s money advantage. I’m not blaming Wren for that, just saying that’s one fewer tool at his disposal.

  138. I am a little bit sick of hearing that we offered Burnett more after-tax money. Why didn’t we try giving him what actually looked like the best offer? If he had signed our offer, all you would’ve heard was that he took less money to pitch for us. I guarantee you that nobody on ESPN would’ve mentioned that ours was actually more after taxes. Perhaps we should’ve tried coming in with the best damn offer. The Yankees were going after both he and Lowe and didn’t really care which one they got. He was not Sabathia. It was not a pursue him at any cost thing. If we had topped the offer, I’m guessing we’d have gotten him. If the Yankees had gone back over the top, oh well then, but it looks like we didn’t even try. That is a little thing he could’ve done.

    With Furcal, yes, he should’ve gone back in and topped the Dodgers offer. While what happened was BS, whining about it will get you nothing. The Dodgers offer was pretty much the same. It wouldn’t have taken much to get the highest offer. You guys are acting like $5 million more will break the bank. It’s ridiculous. We have money to spend. Offering Burnett an $85 million contract instead of an $80 million one would not have ruined us. Same with Furcal. Don’t just stand there looking like a f****** brook trout! Do something about it!

  139. Nick, not disagreeing with your points there, but most people felt like 5/80 was way too much to offer Burnett. They’ve also stated that the only conversation Wren got yesterday was to tell him Furcal wasnt coming. We dont know if they gave Wren another shot at Furcal

    but who knows, maybe the Braves FO still believe people will come here for less for some reason

  140. Nick,

    Your position on this is way worse. If Wren did what you are saying then every team and every agent would know that he can be pushed around and you can squeeze more money out of him if you just play hard to get.

  141. The agent appears to be a scumbag. I’m not going to read into it much more than that for the moment.

    It’s been a rough off-season so far. We still need to make moves. Let’s hope Wren makes the right ones. Still waiting…

  142. I DO NOT think Wren should have offered more for Furcal. You guys who are saying Wren appears weak really think that was even an option. Not offering more certainly says “I won’t get played.”

    Burnett, well, I see no harm in coming back with one more bid to get the guy. I still think he would have ended up with the Yankees. You’re crazy if you think an extra $5M makes them look elsewhere, but there is nothing wrong with bidding up the price on them a little.

    Throw blame around all you want, but this is the first time in the last two decades that the Braves have entered the offseason looking like a team that will just not compete for a playoff spot. That has a lot to do with Furcal, Tazawa, Peavy, Hampton, and Burnett choosing other teams.

  143. #206

    My concern, ububba going forward is now 2-fold.

    One, again there’s Public relations here but the way the Braves now “look” to free agents is a place no one wants to go and we’ve become a laughingstock and even among the curren free agents, if given an alternate option, they’d take it unless we way overpay – that’s now the perception of the Braves under Wren. This is why Wren has to go, otherwise we’ll always have to overpay (like Kansas City with Gil Meche) just to get a good player this way.

    Also, there are less & less players available now and even an obvious target like Derek Lowe, well, he’s going to choose a contender now and his agent is the dark lord.

  144. Wren has nothing to do with the Braves no longer being an ideal destination.

    The city itself doesn’t have the lifestyle draws that NY, Chicago, LA have. The team isn’t as competitive as those in NY, Chicago, California (because we don’t have as much money as they do). Those are the reasons why Atlanta is not a choice destination.

    When we were a contender, players would come here. Not coincidentally, when we were a contender our budget and payroll were among the highest in the league.

  145. I think that the biggest issue I have with Wren is that he hasn’t proven anything. When JS came from KC, he brought two pennants and a title with him. He continued that in Atlanta.

    Its easy to say that the circumstances were different, but the end result was that Schuerholz produced and had a history of producing. With that brought credibility, and in many cases, the benefit of the doubt. That wasn’t given to JS; he EARNED it.

    Wren, regardless of what anyone says about him, has neither that history nor that credibility. Any status he might possess is just a by product of his association with Schuerholz. Additionally, IMO, he hasn’t done anything yet to warrant the type of faith that I think we routinely gave to JS.

    Are all of the occurences this offseason his fault? Who knows, but it is becoming, at the very least, a questionable string of events. In any case, I do know that he is responsible.

    Like a lot here have said, I’m willing wait until the upcoming season plays out before I pass judgment, (not that it’s really worth anything) but personally, the 2009 Braves don’t seem to be any closer to a title than the ’08 version. Might be wrong, but I thought that was amongst Wren’s stated goals.

  146. Ethan, you say you’re waiting to pass judgment, and then you complain that on December 18th, the 2009 Braves don’t look good yet.

  147. We DID counter-offer to Burnett — we guaranteed a fifth year, which IIRC was not in our original offer. Once the fifth year was on the table, it became a matter of money, and the Yanks came over the top of us. I’m glad we won’t be paying Burnett $16+ million until he’s 37.

    As far as counter-offering for Furcal, what would have been the point of that? We had a deal, and the agent reneged. The best way to be seen as a “weak” “laughingstock” at that point would be to cave. THAT would have gotten everyone’s attention, that Frank Wren can be suckered. The only conclusion I’ve made about him is that he demands value for value, and walks away if he doesn’t get it. Well, good for him, that’s how I run my affairs too.

  148. To be fair, Ethan did say the 2009 Braves don’t “seem to be any closer”. I think that’s perfectly fair and still trying to keep some optimism.

    I, on the other hand, have never been more at an all time low about my lack of optimism for 2009. The last time I felt this bad about our chances was heading INTO the 1991 season – before that became the miracle year.

    Now if Wren goes out & signs Burrell and Lowe and keeps Smoltz, I’ll be feeling a lot differently…but I simply don’t see any FA’s choosing us.

    As for Atlanta, it’s a great city to live and if you want to have a good time, hell, just ask Andruw and Patrick Ewing…but I digress. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Savannah but I personally have no desire to live in Chicago, L.A. or NY.

    Even if I had the $. Too big. Frankly, Atlanta’s too big and so is where I live (at least for now since we’re moving in a few months), the DC area.

  149. But Dix, once you begin negotiating with someone, you must sign him at all costs.

    Why? When the Braves started negotiating with David Ross–who has immediately become the BravesJournal fave–should the Braves have given him the entire $40m available for signing free agents? Of course not. Silly remark from someone who’s usually sensible–but that’s part of what makes our little online Braves bull session so much fun. :-)

  150. And look at Jake Peavy…the guy’s been with the Padres for several years and yet has never given up his childhood home in Alabama. Some people like more medium to small sized areas to live, once they have a family.

    When I was single, DC was great. If you’re married and have a child, it’s not as great.

  151. I can’t do the cool indented, italicized quote some folks do here but DOB had this to say, in re: Wren discussing team plans with the press:

    You’re right about that. Talked with him last night, and he’s backing off giving anything about future plans, who they’re interested in, etc. Believes that the info, in some cases, has been used against the Braves this offseason in some ways he didn’t specify. Tough to disagree, given what’s happened so far.

    I’m just theorizing, but maybe another team gets wind the Braves are interested in a player, and then during its own talks with that player or player’s agent the other team mentions what’s wrong with the Braves or that they have an unsettled future, etc. Again, I’m just theorizing about what he meant.

  152. Did Wren ever call the deal “done”. I thought that was Rosenthal. I think some of us read articles with tidbits of info from “team sources”, and somehow are brains interpret that as “Frank Wren said this” or “Frank Wren said that.”

  153. And look at Jake Peavy…the guy’s been with the Padres for several years and yet has never given up his childhood home in Alabama.

    Jake Peavy is a gal.

  154. This stuff about other GMs losing respect for Wren and not dealing with him is asinine. If he has a player they want, they will deal with him. What causes GMs not to deal with another GM is if he acts in bad faith–and no seems to think that Wren has done this.

    Alex does his typical ranting when things don’t go his way but there is no indication that Wren did anything wrong and I’m tired of all the baloney about how this wouldn’t happen to JS. We have no idea. As for the other GMs “revering” JS, how the hell do you know that? They might have hated his guts for being such a ruthless bastard; either way, it wouldn’t keep them from dealing with him.

    I think there are reasons to question Wren’s performance. But the incidents this winter I think are just bad luck. People become so irrational like blaming the conditioning coach when teams get a lot of injuries.

    As for Atlanta vs. NY, Chicago, etc.; this is obviously a matter of preference and some people like big cities and some don’t. But, many people would rather live in NY or Chicago, or SF, or LA or DC than Atlanta. I certainly would and I grew up in Chattanooga. IMO,they are all much more stimulating, interesting areas than Atlanta. But I don’t think that’s relevant to most players anyway because it doesn’t matter where the hell you live when you are making millions of dollars and most aren’t partcularly interested in going to museums. But Atlanta is not the center of the universe.

  155. Not so sure about the city being a less desirable residence. There seem to be a large number of professional athletes who choose to live in Atlanta no matter where they play.

  156. From #218

    But who knows, one GM mused in an e-mail. “In five years, Frank might be glad that he didn’t get either Burnett or Furcal.”

    That’s not the way he is feeling today.

    I think that’s going to sum it up. It REALLY sucks today (I really wanted Furcal and even Burnett), but I think in 5 years we’ll be happy we didn’t. Unfortunately, it’s tough to wrap your mind around “5 years later” when you get spurned by a wife not wanting to fly and an agent possessing a total lack of integrity. Oh well. Let’s go get Burrell, Lowe, trade for Greinke, and call it an offseason.

  157. #222

    Sounds to me as though we might be seen as an organization that’s hung on too long to the old guard, and just wants to plug holes around the same old guys in an ad hoc fashion to see if we can eke out one more pennant as presently constituted. So it’s not that other players don’t want to be Braves — they just don’t want to be 1997 Braves, and if we’d just turn the page we’d become an attractive destination once again.

  158. Sansho1,

    I dont see how that can be the case. Chipper and Smoltz are all that’s left of those teams. And you can’t say we’re hanging on to them too long. They’re great players. The rest of the team is rather young.

  159. #201

    say goodbye to Escobar, people…

    #231

    couldn’t have said it better myself. it all starts with letting Smoltz go and seeing what we could get for Chipper. I bet that we could talk to Boston and ask for:

    Lars Anderson
    Michael Bowden
    Clay Buchholz
    Jason Bay

    for Chipper.

  160. @229 – I would like ALL of those moves.

    @231 & 232 – We DO NOT have an old team. But the oldest players we have are some of our best, as Dix has indicated. We are not ‘hanging on’ to Chipper and Smoltz – they still play at remarkably high levels.

  161. Much in business is “make or buy”. Looks like it’s getting tough for the Braves to “buy”, so let’s focus on “making”.

    Right now, we have the makings of a Phillies-level middle infield.

    We have the best catcher in the NL.

    Our 3rd-baseman was arguably the MVP last year.

    1B is good enough (I’d rather have more power at this position, but …)

    Outfield – oy. We seem to have about five 4th outfielders. This is where free-agent cash should be spent. That and/or continue to build a fast, high-average outfield that is strong defensively to support:

    A homegrown or farm-raised pitching staff. This strategy probably means we’re punting on 2009 and building toward 2010. (I’d offer Sheets and hope to get lucky, but NO trading of prospects for pitchers in questionable health.)

    Which begs the question: If we’re a .500 (or less) club by the trade deadline, do we trade Chipper (with his blessing, of course).

    If so, what could we realistically expect from such a trade?

    Commit to “making” and hope to get lucky with a “buy” now and then. That’s kinda who we are these days. I’d like to become the Marlins with the ability to hang onto the good ones we “build”.

  162. that’s not what it’s about…it’s about building a TEAM that can survive over the next 5-7 years…what happens when chipper hangs them up?

    i, for one, would love to see something for him before he rides off into the sunset.

    ps–shouldn’t we give him 1 last shot to win another ring? (and crush the yankees as many times as possible?)

    pss–in all liklihood, we wont get THAT bounty for him…

    but lars anderson
    bowden
    clay
    is a good start.

  163. Interesting bit on the Peavy fiasco:
    http://www.murraychass.com/?p=369

    I’m just not even going to TALK about the Furcal thing. Sheesh, I went home on Tuesday feeling ill (seriously sick) but expecting Furcal to be signed soon and when I managed to drag my sick ass out of bed all this had transpired. I’m still trying to work out what was a product of my fever and nausea and what actually happened.

  164. Chipper is still productive, obviously. But Smoltz and Glavine barely contributed last year, are both over 40, and are still hanging around. Cox is clearly a short-timer now. These guys are THE Braves, and their careers in their last gasps, playing for increasingly diminishing returns. Maybe (I’m just saying maybe) that’s a situation that turns off potential suitors.

  165. Okay, I’m glad to see the Olney piece. It sounds like Frank got screwed and most people agree that Frank got screwed, even if they all admit that the agent didn’t do anything legally actionable. So that’s good. And, again, I’m glad we don’t have Burnett or Furcal, I just hate that they both made us look bad.

    But I’m feeling more serene than I was a day ago, or even a few hours ago.

    I know, I know, I’m ridiculous.

  166. I’m about to catch a flight, so I’ll just say that I read Melvin’s jab to be at the media (they were the ones calling the Peavy thing done, not anyone in the Braves organization) more than Wren and leave it at that.

  167. Yeah, what same old guys? We’re talking about letting Smoltz walk, and Chipper is the only other one. I don’t see it. It looks like, after the Teixera deal, we’re trying to hold on to the young players (refusing to deal the farm for Peavy). Personally, I really like how Wren hasn’t budged. He has the budget to beat LA’s offer out of the water, but it would have been stupid and he moved on. Same thing with Burnett. We seriously could have offered $20M if we wanted, but we didn’t, and I’m glad we didn’t. Let’s build and develop, and then sign some key short-term guys and roll into 2009 with what we got. Let’s see if Schafer pulls a 2005 Francoeur, and hope for the best.

  168. AAR @ 240 – Don’t beat yourself up, even though the Furcal signing was questionable we all got a little pissed when this thing fell through, because we’re just waiting for something to happen.

    For instance, I drove about an hour towards Atlanta to take a dump on Kinzer’s lawn last night around 1am. Cooler heads prevailed and I decided to spend the night in a QT parking lot. Good times.

  169. I’ve been preaching we should trade Chipper for at least two years. Expecting Chipper to play 140-145 games a season is dillusional. Why do you pay someone who’s not a top half of the rotation starter $10+ million to play part time, even if he’s the best part time player in MLB?

    Mr. Smoltz may or may not be done, but Glavine probably is. Sansho’s on the money. Take what you can get for our icons (if you can get Chipper to agree to go away)or let them go their own way.

    The past was great, but it’s gone. Build today for tomorrow. Go young with upside, Mr. Wren.

  170. #227

    Typical Marc Schneider…other people say what I say but I’m the only one you A) bash and B) who rants. Yeah, no one rants on here. You always seem to want my attention for some reason. Can’t quite figure that out.

    I’ve stated my piece, I’ve offered a fair case why Wren is an unsuccessful GM, and some people on Bravesjournal agree with this. Plenty don’t. But they’re called opinions and we’re all allowed to have them without getting personal.

    You’re a good reason why it’s hard to want to bother to come on here anymore and have a good, solid discussion/disagreement without making a personal snide attack.

  171. I know I’m the resident nostalgia guy here… but put me down on the “don’t trade Chipper” side of the wager. If we were keeping on a whole team of old guys it would be one thing, but I don’t think keeping Chipper around as a REALLY good 2/3 of the season player to mentor the young kids when he’s on the bench (and the same goes for Smoltz if he’s healthy) is a bad use of resources… especially when rebuilding and bringing in a whole bunch of young guys. I’d wager that Chipper has been a not-insignificant positive influence on the McCann, Yunel, and KJs of the last few years, and even if he hasn’t been able to get through to Frenchy it makes sense (in my mind) to keep him on the team if you don’t have a young Chipper coming up to take his place (if we had a David Wright in the minors able to come up it would be one thing). IF we had done the two year deal to keep Andruw AND brought back Furcal then I’d have felt like we were trying to recapture with the old guys, but as it stands I don’t think Smoltz and Chipper are bad guys to pay to play (I’m very PRO paying them to stay on the team actually).

  172. I didn’t say I wasn’t coming here anymore, Marc, I was just wondering why you always feel the need to take a shot at me? I’ve lost count how many times.

    Stick to disagreeing on a topic without making it personal. It’s a good rule of thumb.

  173. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt to have veteran presence, but Smoltz and Chipper are more than that. They are our best players. You obviously can’t trade Smoltz. Chipper would bring in a haul of players, but not a Teixeira-like haul. I think our best chances to win lie in 2011 and beyond, and I question whether Chipper will be capable of playing in the NL at that time but I don’t think you can trade him yet. You have to get to Padres level hopelessness before you trade Chipper for prospects.

  174. @200: Another $5 million thrown at the problem also wouldn’t have fixed it. We did offer AJ the best deal, the Yankees topped us, and Wren decided, rightly, that it wasn’t worth throwing more time and money after… The Yanks would’ve forced us up to at least $87.5, and then we would’ve looked desperate. Same with Furcal. The Braves just didn’t have the peripherals to make their offer as attractive as the Yankees or LA, AJ wanted geographical proximity to his wife, and Furcal wanted geographic proximity to his position… I really can’t blame Raffy for not wanting to move to 2B, this likely isn’t going to be his last big money deal, and his value in 2011, or 2012 will be much greater if he stays at SS (assuming the end of the Mayan calendar doesn’t destroy us all…)

    If Wren had just thrown more money at Furcal after Kinzer reneged on the first agreement… THAT IS WEAK.

    Stick to your guns Frank.

  175. @172: That insinuation is ludicrous JC. You should know better. The Braves don’t do business like that. If that was the case Bobby Cox would’ve quit the next day. Frenchie was recalled because it quickly became obvious that he wasn’t going to learn anything at AA. He doesn’t need to make any adjustments to dominate at that level, so leaving in him AA would’ve just reinforced what he was doing.

    They called him back up, he got the message, and he started the long road to a turn around. By September he was back into form, putting up numbers (.286/.333/.418, with 12 RBIs and 13 RS from the 7 or 8 hole) that were better than ’06 and right there with his ’07 numbers.

  176. I think we should remember that Atlanta wasn’t the only team that sought Peavy, Burnette, and Furcal. Wren should get some credit for being included among the finalists.
    Oakland apparently made a much bigger offer for Furcal than Atlanta, but was rejected. Their GM is universally respected. Why is Wren getting so much heat?
    I think his learning is to keep the negotiations out of the press. The Vasquez deal came out of nowhere. Let’s have more of the same.

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