Braves GM Frank Wren Heads To Three Days Of Meetings With Peers

Speculation Wren Searching For A Second-Baseman

Sunday, November 10, 2013
Frank Wren
Frank Wren
- photo by Tim Evearitt

ATLANTA -- Much of the early offseason speculation surrounding the Braves has focused on where Brian McCann and Tim Hudson might be playing next year. But this scope will widen as the Hot Stove season takes shape over the next few weeks.

With a stable core of talented young players in place, general manager Frank Wren can approach the annual roster reconstruction process comforted by the fact that he does not necessarily have any glaring needs.

Sure, Wren will be among the many clubs who survey the trade market in search of the rare ace that this year's free-agent market lacks. At the same time, he will attempt to find a team that is willing to trade for Dan Uggla and a portion of the $26 million the veteran second baseman is owed over the final two years of his contract.

It will not be easy for the Braves to land one of the few available aces or find a potential suitor for Uggla. But Wren will gain a better sense of how realistic these two possibilities are when he and his top aides spend next week (Monday-Wednesday) talking shop with their peers at the annual General Managers Meetings in Orlando, Fla.

History has shown the GM Meetings unearth possibilities that had not previously been explored by some clubs. During the first day of the 2010 Meetings, which were held in Orlando, Wren received an unexpected offer from former Marlins exec Larry Beinfest, who used a napkin to scribble the parameters of the deal that brought Uggla to Atlanta.

Three years later, the challenge of moving Uggla will prove to be much more taxing.

After struggling through his first three months with the Braves, Uggla hit .291 with 34 homers and a .938 OPS in the 130 games he played from July 5, 2011-June 5, 2012. But while hitting .181 with 31 homers and a .659 OPS in the 235 games that have followed, the 33-year-old second baseman has distanced himself from those glory days when he compiled five consecutive 30-homer seasons.

The two most attractive second basemen on this year's free-agent market are Robinson Cano and Omar Infante, who coincidently was traded by Atlanta in exchange for Uggla. There are seemingly just a few clubs that will be willing to pay the significant cost it will take to sign Cano.

But the supply of second basemen could also be increased if the Rangers' Ian Kinsler or the Angels' Howie Kendrick are made available on the trade market. Kinsler has a limited no-trade clause and is owed at least $62 million over the next four seasons. Kendrick has a less-limited no-trade clause and is owed $18.85 million over the final two years of his contract.

If the Braves move Uggla, they might have to eat at least 70 percent of his remaining salary. But this could leave Wren with an additional $6 million to $8 million to spend as he attempts to strengthen his roster this winter.

Atlanta will be among the teams linked to left-hander David Price and right-hander Max Scherzer, if Detroit truly is willing to deal the American League's Cy Young Award favorite. But the cost of getting either of these two aces might prove to be too steep, especially when the free-agent market is thin when it comes to frontline starting pitchers.

Hudson has already received a one-year offer from the Braves. But if this offer is not enhanced, the 38-year-old veteran will likely be pitching elsewhere next year. The Royals, Indians and Red Sox are among the clubs that have thus far shown the greatest interest.

If Hudson does indeed exit Atlanta, the Braves will still have a solid rotation that would include Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, and Brandon Beachy. Alex Wood stands as the early favorite to win the rotation's fifth spot.

While this rotation would be potentially solid, it would also lack a member who has made more than 85 career starts. When Wren talked about bringing Hudson back, he mentioned the desire to have an experienced presence in his rotation.

Wren might also be looking to add a veteran to his bullpen. One attractive option could be LaTroy Hawkins, who compiled a 2.93 ERA in 73 appearances for the Mets this past season. Along with aiding the young relievers, Hawkins could also serve as a good influence on B. J. Upton.

When Upton was in the midst of his struggles last year, he reached out to Hawkins for advice. The two players are both represented by Larry Reynolds.

------ Source:  MLB.com


No.13 UTC Prepares for No.9 Jax State

“The Jacksonville State defensive front four is as good or better than Central Michigan’s.”   -- UTC offensive coordinator Jeff Durden. It’s “Whiteout Saturday” at Finley Stadium as Chattanooga hosts its oldest rival in Jacksonville (Ala.) State in a battle of two top 15 nationally ranked FCS teams. Both teams – No.9 Jax ... (click for more)

UTC is No.13 in This Week's Football Poll

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team moved up a spot in the national polls, despite dropping a tough 20-16 battle at Central Michigan last week.  The Mocs are No. 13 in the Sports Network Top-25 and No. 15 in the FCS Coaches Poll this week.  The No. 13 national mark ties the highest ranking for UTC in the Russ Huesman era (since ... (click for more)

16-Year-Old Shot Near Emma Wheeler Homes

A 16-year-old was shot near Emma Wheeler Homes on Sunday night. At approximately 7:40 p.m., Chattanooga Police received a call of a person shot from a local hospital. Officers spoke to the victim, a 16-year-old black male, who was transported to a local hospital in a personal vehicle. The victim’s injury is minor and non-life threatening. Investigators spoke to the victim ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

Decimating The Chattanooga Public Library

Corinne Hill claims that the library is just undergoing a normal weeding process for eliminating books.  She has bragged that she's responsible for the elimination of over 100,000 books - with more to go. "Normal" weeding is not rampant throwing away.  Yes, books go to the Friends for their sale - where they get $2 for a $75 book and thousands wind up being recycled ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)