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Friday, October 12, 2012

Braves extend GM Wren through 2014

Keep the Wren from flying away.

The Braves have extended executive vice president and general manager Frank Wren’s contract though the end of the 2014 season and enhanced the titles of two of his top aides.

Along with locking up Wren for at least two more seasons, the Braves announced that assistant general manager and director of player development Bruce Manno has been awarded the title of vice president and assistant general manager/player development. John Coppolella, who served as the director of professional scouting this past season, has been given the title of assistant general manager.

“These changes are a reflection of the good work and success of our Major League baseball team and the work of Frank and his senior staff,” Braves president John Schuerholz said.

Since being named to his current position on Oct. 11, 2007, Wren has helped rebuild the Braves into one of the National League’s top teams. The club has reached the postseason in two of the past three years, and the Phillies are the only NL club with more wins since the start of the 2009 season.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 12, 2012 at 12:26 PM | 51 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, frank wren, general managers

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   1. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: October 12, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4266172)
You win Frank. This is year two of my Frank Wren induced break from being a Braves fan, and I guess I'm never getting my team back. Bummer. I waited out Paul Hackett but that was only three years, this could go on much longer.

I can't imagine just picking a new team, although my Dad is a Tigers fan and I do like these Tiger teams. But the DH is a deal breaker. I guess I'm left with, much like the NFL or NBA, just following the sport without an actual rooting interest.

   2. Brian White Posted: October 12, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4266206)
Since Wren took over, the Braves have won 72, 86, 91, 89, and 94 games. You're totally right to stop being a Braves fan because of Wren, Robert, since he clearly has the team going in the wrong direction. I mean right now, there's practically no difference between the Braves and the Astros.
   3. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: October 12, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4266220)
Thanks for your input. I'm glad you enjoy his work. I hope that works out for you.

Edit: And hey, I said he wins. What else do you want? I thought I'd take a year or two off, he'd get fired and we could all start fresh with the new guy. Instead the minor league system keeps cranking out quality major leaguers and now there is no end in sight. Dan Uggla contract or no, he wins.
   4. Sweatpants Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4266227)
What are your criticisms of him?
   5. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4266232)
You win Frank. This is year two of my Frank Wren induced break from being a Braves fan, and I guess I'm never getting my team back. Bummer.


Why do you dislike Wren? I don't follow the Braves closely but he seems to be pretty good.
   6. flournoy Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4266233)
What are your criticisms of him?


Beware, you are inviting lamentations over the Braves no longer having Yunel "75 OPS+" Escobar.
   7. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4266239)
Beware, you are inviting lamentations over the Braves no longer having Yunel "75 OPS+" Escobar.

No, I'm not going through the list of grievances again. I've stopped doing that, it wasn't making me a happy person.

He once got himself into a budget crunch that had him trade Rafael Soriano for Jesse Chavez straight up. Soriano had 45 saves and a 1.73 ERA the next season, Chavez served as the Braves official white flag the next season, meaning that when he was brought in, the Braves had officially given up. But hey, it had to be done. They needed the payroll space for one injury shortened season for a 40 year old Billy Wagner.

Sorry, I'm done now. Damn you, flournoy you sucked me back in. Now I have to start over again at Step 1.
   8. dlf Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4266256)
My criticisms of Wren have more to do with style than with substance. It seems like Wren has his negotiations, whether for free agents (remember Furcal accepting then rejecting his offer?) or trades (Dempster, etc) broadcast much more than did Schuerholz or Cox before him. It makes the Braves seem less professional after what Atlanta fans had gotten used to.

On substance, it is hard to disagree with the results, but it feels like they could have done so much more with just slightly better alignment of resources. The Derek Lowe contract was bad from day one. Kenshin Kawakami too. And its amazing how poor some of the outfields (McLouth, Ankiel, etc.) have been despite top half salary limits.
   9. DA Baracus Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4266287)
I agree with dlf that Wren has style over substance concerns.

The results under his tenure have been good, you can do much worse than Frank Wren. But it feels like you can do better. The jerking around of Prado hasn't done him any favors with the fans.
   10. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4266299)
Robert's hatred of Frank Wren is one of the most quaint, irrational things about Braves-dom on this site.
   11. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4266305)
On substance, it is hard to disagree with the results, but it feels like they could have done so much more with just slightly better alignment of resources. The Derek Lowe contract was bad from day one. Kenshin Kawakami too. And its amazing how poor some of the outfields (McLouth, Ankiel, etc.) have been despite top half salary limits.

I'll agree with this, as well as the "style" issues. Could definitely be worse, but I'm not particularly a fan.
   12. Jim Wisinski Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4266307)
If you combined Sam and Robert I think you'd get a realistic Braves fan with a capacity for reasonable objectivity
   13. JJ1986 Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4266308)
Did Wren find Medlen and Beachy? That makes up for a lot of crap.
   14. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4266311)
Why do you dislike Wren?


He keeps shitting on my car and it's hard to get off.
   15. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4266312)
Setting aside Robert's angst over the unremitting horror that has been Frank Wren's tenure, as it's coming from the same guy who could almost never find a kind word to say about Greg Maddux, this is kind of a crucial off-season for Wren and the Braves. That's what made last week's wild card defeat even more disappointing than the usual Braves postseason disaster. It's not so much that the window closed, it's that the Braves need to work very hard and very creatively to keep it opened.

There's obviously a gaping hole at third base, and for any number of reasons that's going to be a tough hole to fill. Wren has a difficult decision to make regarding McCann, who has an option year remaining, is coming off his worst year as a big leaguer and is looking increasingly injury ravaged. How high do you go for Michael Bourn, and if, as is likely, he leaves for other NL East pastures, who replaces him in center field? And what do you do about the starting rotation?

Now, the good news is that there are opportunities here and actual resources to seize them. Between the end of Chipper's contract and of Derek Lowe's ransom the Braves actually have money to spend. Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran still retain significant value, even with their struggles this season. Plus, having Prado around really gives the team flexibility. Find a left fielder, but not a third baseman? Prado to third! Find a third baseman, but not a left fielder? Prado stays in left! Get another GM drunk and convince him to take Uggla off your hands? Prado to second!

So there are some decisions to be made, and if Wren makes the right ones he can set up the franchise reasonably well for the next few years. But considering that the Braves have the worst television deal in the majors, poor decisions can put the team in a pretty bad state for the foreseeable future.
   16. DA Baracus Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4266316)
Did Wren find Medlen and Beachy? That makes up for a lot of crap.


A 10th rounder and an undrafted free agent, I doubt it. On the other hand, Minor was considered a reach.
   17. DA Baracus Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4266321)
There's obviously a gaping hole at third base, and for any number of reasons that's going to be a tough hole to fill.


Simpliest solution is put Prado there and get a LF with actual power.
   18. Brian White Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4266326)
Did Wren find Medlen and Beachy? That makes up for a lot of crap.


Medlen was drafted under Schurholz, in 2006. Beachy was signed under Frank Wren, in 2008.
   19. DA Baracus Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4266330)
Medlen was drafted under Schurholz, in 2006.


Wren was on the staff though so it's possible, although unlikely, that Wren was responsible for him.
   20. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4266351)
There's obviously a gaping hole at third base, and for any number of reasons that's going to be a tough hole to fill.


Not really. Yes, Chipper is gone, and yes, it's Chipper Jones you're replacing, but the Braves have options at 3B. They have Martin Prado. They have Juan Francisco. Considering how weak the market for 3B is these days, they're still in a position of plenty at 3B.

Wren has a difficult decision to make regarding McCann, who has an option year remaining, is coming off his worst year as a big leaguer and is looking increasingly injury ravaged.


The Braves will re-up McCann without thinking twice. They won't lose Chipper and McCann in the same year. The big decision comes next year, not this.

How high do you go for Michael Bourn,


Considering his second half, not very.

and if, as is likely, he leaves for other NL East pastures, who replaces him in center field?


Dexter Fowler.

And what do you do about the starting rotation?


???

Hudson, Medlen, Minor, Maholm, Hanson/Delgado/Teheran/Beachy-when-he-returns.
   21. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4266359)
The real question is Dan Uggla (and CF, obviously.) The Prado-in-LF arrangement was premised on Dan Uggla slugging like a LF.
   22. Brian White Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4266362)
A 10th rounder and an undrafted free agent, I doubt it.

Wren was on the staff though so it's possible, although unlikely, that Wren was responsible for him.


Wren probably wasn't the one sitting in some meeting, with a huge list of undrafted free agents, saying, "This kid right here, Beachy, that's the one I want signed." I don't think any GM does that, when dealing with low draft picks and unsigned free agents. That doesn't mean he doesn't deserve any credit when the organization he's running finds a hidden gem pitching in some backwater community college. Running a team isn't always about making every single decision; it's more about finding the right scouts, and not getting in their way when they want to sign someone like Brandon Beachy.
   23. DA Baracus Posted: October 12, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4266441)
Wren probably wasn't the one sitting in some meeting, with a huge list of undrafted free agents, saying, "This kid right here, Beachy, that's the one I want signed."


Yeah, I was trying to not come off as rude. Obviously Beachy wasn't him. Medlen, likely not but we'll never know.

The real question is Dan Uggla (and CF, obviously.)


Hey you never know. Accidents happen.



   24. JJ1986 Posted: October 12, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4266451)
I just meant, was he the top guy when they were signed? I think he gets credit for that whoever actually found them.
   25. zachtoma Posted: October 12, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4266468)
I can't get too worked up about this extension - Wren has both good and bad moves on his resume, on the whole I would probably rank him somewhere in the teens out of all GMs in MLB. This team is more constrained by their budget now than by the capabilities of their front-office staff. Their amateur scouting/player development has managed to cover up for that for awhile now, but if that tap ever runs dry, this team is in serious trouble. They can't afford to whiff on big FA deals and they have, repeatedly - everybody does sometimes, but for that reason I kind of hope they stay out of the FA market this year and try to trade for the pieces they need. Dexter Fowler is a hell of an idea, I love him.

Dan Uggla is a horrible baseball player.
   26. DA Baracus Posted: October 12, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4266492)
I just meant, was he the top guy when they were signed? I think he gets credit for that whoever actually found them.


Eh, I can't give a GM or his staff credit for signing a guy that nobody took after 50 rounds. That's a hell of a lottery ticket that Beachy even made the majors, let alone turned out to be good.
   27. Boxkutter Posted: October 12, 2012 at 06:30 PM (#4266630)
How about this deal: Dan Uggla and a little cash (maybe a lower level prospect as well) to Colorado for Nolan Arenado and Dexter Fowler.

The Rockies can move Tulo to 3B to try to lessen the strain on his body. Rutledge and Uggla can man the middle infield. And then the Braves have a good 3B prospect to replace Chipper and can move Prado to 2B. Fowler goes to CF obviously.

Boom.

EDIT: Even living in Denver, I stopped checking out Rockies box scores early on this past season so I didn't realize how good of a year Fowler had. It's gonna take a lot more to pry him away from Colorado now.
   28. flournoy Posted: October 12, 2012 at 07:06 PM (#4266711)
a hidden gem pitching in some backwater community college.


Almost. Beachy was playing third base for some backwater community college. The Braves signed him with the intention of turning him into a pitcher.

The Braves can use Francisco at third against right handers, and Prado against left handers. Then Prado plays left field against right handers, and some guy yet to be determined (re-sign Reed Johnson?) plays left field against left handers. Easy and cheap, if nothing better looks likely. Then the Braves can use their money on a center fielder. (Upton? Hamilton?)
   29. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 12, 2012 at 07:40 PM (#4266805)
The Braves can use Francisco at third against right handers, and Prado against left handers. Then Prado plays left field against right handers, and some guy yet to be determined (re-sign Reed Johnson?) plays left field against left handers.


Evan Gattis is very likely to get at least a look in that role. Christian Bethancourt is the future catcher, so Gattis is the natural RH slugger to move to LF.
   30. DA Baracus Posted: October 12, 2012 at 07:54 PM (#4266833)
How about this deal: Dan Uggla and a little cash (maybe a lower level prospect as well) to Colorado for


Great trade, who'd we get?

An OF of Bourn, Heyward, Johnson, and PTBNL works for me. Gattis certainly deserves a look in spring training.
   31. Brian White Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4266889)
Between the end of Chipper's contract and of Derek Lowe's ransom the Braves actually have money to spend.


As best I can figure, the Braves will have ~15 million to spend, if 2013 opening day payroll is the same as 2012's. Jurrjens, Bourn, Diaz, Ross and Hinske are all off payroll. On the other side of the ledger, Maholm will have his option picked up, McCann gets a big raise, and they have arb raises for Venters, Heyward, Janish, Medlen, Hanson, Prado, and O'Flaherty. That $15m has to go towards a backup C (probably Ross again on another 2y/3m deal), two bench guys, a CF, and someone who's either a LF or 3B. They can probably go cheap on the latter - I mean, Juan Francisco's already there. But $15m towards a CF doesn't exactly put them in the Josh Hamilton running, even if they were inclined to spend all their payroll space on a single player (and the Braves are generally not inclined to do so). I suspect they'll focus on resigning Bourn. I'm not sure that excites me - I think the decline might come hard and fast for Bourn.
   32. Brian White Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:19 PM (#4266898)
Yeah, I was trying to not come off as rude.


I didn't think you were coming off as rude, I just meant the same thing post 24 meant. I think it's kind of useless to guess which exact person in the organization is making each individual decision. While Frank Wren was the head of the organization, the organization found Brandon Beachy. So Wren gets credit for unearthing Beachy.
   33. DA Baracus Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:20 PM (#4266901)
Wren's indicated that Prado is getting a long term extension.
   34. Lassus Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:28 PM (#4266918)
No, I'm not going through the list of grievances again.

All you have to do is wait a couple of months and you can!
   35. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:29 PM (#4266922)
From an identity perspective, the Braves are in uncharted waters without Chipper. It's been his team since 2005. Now they're sort of Hudson's team, sort of McCann's team, sort of Prado's team. No one really knows. They have no core player to identify the franchise with right now. The Braves wanted that to be Brian McCann, but his shoulder/2012 season have thrown a wrench in that machinery.

From a talent perspective, the 2013 Braves shouldn't be that much different from the 2012 Braves. You'll get some portion of Chipper's value back from Francisco + new LF. You'll replace Bourn with someone. The big question marks are Uggla and that contract, and McCann and that shoulder. The rotation should be better in 2013, actually. Minor came into his own, and Maholm+Delgado can't be worse than Jurrjens+Hanson 2012.
   36. zachtoma Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:38 PM (#4266930)
Teheran was awful in AAA this year and I have to think his stock has fallen significantly. But I still think he has a shot at being in the rotation for a significant part of 2013.
   37. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:45 PM (#4266939)
Teheran was awful in AAA this year and I have to think his stock has fallen significantly. But I still think he has a shot at being in the rotation for a significant part of 2013.


Agreed, but he's the third option for the fifth rotation spot at this point. Hanson, Medlen, Minor and Maholm will start. Hanson and Delgado will be options for #5 until Beachy returns. Teheran is there in case Delgado and Hanson fail to hold down Beachy's slot.

I suspect that the rotation at the end of 2013 will be Medlen, Minor, Hudson, Beachy, Maholm. Hanson looks for all the world to be Kerry-Wood-meat on a platter.
   38. Sweatpants Posted: October 12, 2012 at 09:17 PM (#4266999)
They have no core player to identify the franchise with right now.
This applies not just to the team's identity but also to its talent. The Braves don't have a single player whom they can count on to be great next year. Well, there's Kimbrel, but a closer can do only so much. Jason Heyward might be great - he could put up another +20ish defensive season in right field, or he could take another step forward offensively. Kris Medlen doesn't have to post a 1.50 ERA again to be great, so maybe he can be the team's star. Since 2009, this is the kind of team they've had, though - quality all around, very few holes, and no consistent star-level performer. It's hard to have a great team without a great player.

Who's the team's best player? Heyward? Medlen? Prado? Obviously the plan for the future is to build around Heyward. Maybe he'll make a big jump in the next couple of seasons.
The club has reached the postseason in two of the past three years, and the Phillies are the only NL club with more wins since the start of the 2009 season.
This really surprised me. They've felt like a solid club since they stopped waiting around for Francoeur to become a star, but I'd have guessed that the NL's second-best team would have done more over those four years than the Braves have.
   39. Brian White Posted: October 12, 2012 at 09:40 PM (#4267055)
It's hard to have a great team without a great player.

Who's the team's best player? Heyward? Medlen? Prado?


I think there's enough young talent around that someone takes a big step forward next year - might be Heyward, might be Freeman, might be Simmons, maybe a pitcher.

Also, Heyward is becoming one of those sneaky-great players - his batting line isn't going to make your eyes pop out, but his defense really is pretty excellent, and he adds value on the basepaths, as well.
   40. nitram odarp Posted: October 12, 2012 at 11:02 PM (#4267216)
Pretty sure Teheran and Delgado will fight for a spot in the Spring, despite Delgado's experience. Like the idea of platooning Gattis in left; he might be a little short on range, but that's no biggie if his bat translates. Prado and Simmons cover that side nicely and let him back up a bit.
Not sure about McCann, he seems to be wearing down pretty fast, and our payroll maybe doesn't support a slugging catcher with limited defense (I love McCann's hitting, but I'm not sure if that's valuable given our payroll. See: Mauer, Joe.)
I think Heyward could cover CF for a year, but we need to try a long term deal now. Would rather go after Bourjos than Fowler, if the deal could be kept short.
Lock up the middle (Simmons,Heyward,Prado, maybe Betancourt, maybe Ahmed, maybe Bourjos or Fowler) and then deal with the corners from a position of flexibility. I think if Ahmed's offense can play at second within a year or two, and you can move Uggla....well, you can do worse with a middlin' payroll than have that defense up the middle for the next five or so years, particularly if you can bridge to an above average CF and move Heyward back to RF.
I am in no way concerned about the pitching, plenty of good arms coming up and I think Medlen is still somewhat underrated. Reminds me of a combination of Maddux and Quisenberry. Oh, and no Hanson.
   41. Walt Davis Posted: October 12, 2012 at 11:07 PM (#4267225)
Simpliest solution is put Prado there and get a LF with actual power.

Psst ... keep this quiet OK ... but ... Alfonso Soriano is available.

I think he gets credit for that whoever actually found them.

Grrr ... pet peeve. Really nobody deserves credit for finding a 10th round pick much less an undrafted guy. The finding is essentially random. Nobody was saying "I think Beachy has the talent to be a good starter" because, if they were, he would have been grabbed in like the 4th round at the latest (unless that's the most UNtrusted scout in the world). At most the scout would have said something like "there's this kid down here playing 3B who can get it up into the 90s, can't hurt to grab him."

If anything other than luck deserves credit for guys like that, it is the DEVELOPMENT staff who were responsible for turning the backwater community 3B into a pitcher. And the Braves, historically, have produced a lot of guys like this so these two guys would seem to be some evidence that Wren has continued that.

M Giles, LaRoche, DeRosa, Venters, Matt Harrison, Hanson along with Medlen and Beachy. Even guys like Kimbrel, Salty, McCann, Kelly Johnson and Freddie Freeman were supplemental 1st or 2nd round picks.

Back in 2003, Venters was drafted in the 30th round. It took seven years to get him to the majors. That wasn't due to good scouting.
   42. Brian White Posted: October 12, 2012 at 11:33 PM (#4267288)
Well, you're right, Walt, in that you might want to credit the development folks, and not whoever did the amateur signing. I don't know that I'd want to try to make the distinction in a case like this - it's enough to say the organization took something of little value (a late draft pick, some pocket change to sign an amateur free agent, whatever) and through some combination of scouting and development, ended up with a great player.
   43. Walt Davis Posted: October 13, 2012 at 12:11 AM (#4267429)
Brian -- agreed. Just a pet peeve that folks almost always credit the scouts not the minor-league coaches for these miracle stories. But, from the fan's perspective or even the organization's perspective, what matters in the end is that they organization is able to produce enough cheap talent.

I also meant to mention that I'm surprised the Braves didn't wrap up Heyward last offseason and they certainly should try to do so this offseason.
   44. zachtoma Posted: October 13, 2012 at 04:08 AM (#4267777)
I suspect that the rotation at the end of 2013 will be Medlen, Minor, Hudson, Beachy, Maholm. Hanson looks for all the world to be Kerry-Wood-meat on a platter.


Jurrjens and Hanson were so big for the Braves just a couple short years ago, amazing that those two young pitchers have both fallen apart, and more amazing still that the Braves have managed to replace them with more development success stories like Beachy, Medlen, and even Minor who looks to have a higher ceiling now than he did when he was drafted as a big reach at #7 overall. I don't know what the issue with Hanson is, but it seems like everyone assumes he has shoulder problems - I could see him starting out with a 6.50 ERA in his first 7 starts, getting shut down, and eventually going under the knife by season's end. And what did happen to Jurrjens, was it the knee injury, or long overdue regression to FIP, or both?
   45. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 13, 2012 at 09:29 AM (#4267822)
Jurrjens hurt his knee, and then his toe, and regressed as well. Everything went wrong. Hanson has a torn labrum or my name is Doris. I'd be shocked if he didn't have surgery this off-season. It's the second season in a row where he's 1) dropped velocity and 2) had to be shut down in the second half and 3) absolutely sucked down the stretch regardless.
   46. DA Baracus Posted: October 13, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4267850)
Psst ... keep this quiet OK ... but ... Alfonso Soriano is available.


I'll give you Uggla for him. I'm serious. If you want you can have Tommy Hanson too, I'm sure we can work something out.
   47. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 13, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4267851)
Drew Storen is available for your bullpen.
   48. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 13, 2012 at 10:12 AM (#4267852)
Yeah, that Uggla/Soriano swap could happen.
   49. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: October 13, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4268031)
I've certainly heard worse ideas. I suppose it depends how much you value that 2015 season, when Soriano will be gone and Uggla will be earning $13,000,000.
   50. flournoy Posted: October 13, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4268044)
$36M for two seasons of Soriano instead of $39M for three seasons of Uggla? Sign me up for that. For all the trade talk around here, Soriano was actually really good last year. Then the Braves could have Prado shift between second and third, with Francisco at third against righties, and maybe Pastornicky at second against lefties.
   51. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 13, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4268074)
Yeah. Straight up, Sori for Uggs? Heartbeat.

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