With the collapse of the Furcal-to-Atlanta deal, Frank Wren has been getting a lot of criticism. I’m not sure it’s warranted, but I think now is a good time to pass along a few thoughts related to the Braves GM.
- I heard Frank Wren on the the radio this morning (790 The Zone podcast), and he’s not happy about the Furcal situation. He stated a few important points that I want to pass along.
- Furcal’s agent left a voice mail asking for a “term sheet” and stated “we’re good.” Wren emphasized that “we’re good” was a direct quote, and that in a business where face-to-face meetings are rare this constitutes a done deal.
- He stated that he had talked to Furcal about moving to second base, and Furcal indicated that he was fine with the move.
- Furcal’s agent did come back with further demands, but the terms were ones that the agent knew the Braves would reject, including a no-trade clause.
- Frank Wren is a good interview. He is nothing like his predecessor in this area. He responds in detail to questions, giving more than the minimum. He’s emotional, but conveys rational thoughts even when expressing emotions. John Schuerholz always sounded to me like he had other things to do and was annoyed by questions.
- I’m not sure you can say that Wren has performed differently from Schuerholz. My impression is that the Braves front office is a brain trust that still includes Schuerholz. When Wren was an assistant GM, he probably had a lot more power than most GMs. As a GM, I think that he has a little less power relative to other GMs. That doesn’t mean that Wren isn’t the leader, but I think the transition from Schuerholz to Wren hasn’t changed much about the organization. I recall that Schuerholz had considerable trouble working with agents.
- Recently, I referred to Frank Wren as a stat-head. The stat-head designation was meant to be humorous, and I did not mean for it to be taken seriously. Since that post, I have seen several references to Wren being stat-savvy, and I think my post is partially responsible. I want to clear this up. I am sure that the Braves use statistical methods to help evaluate talent just as all ballclubs do. There is no organization that eschews quantitative analysis; however, some are more partial to stats than others. The information I have about Wren is that he is not a stat-focused decision-maker. From speaking with several sources regarding Wren, my impression is that Wren is somewhat hostile to quantitative analysis. Just because Wren used some DIPSish reasoning to defend a pitcher doesn’t mean that type of analysis is driving the organization. My guess is that ocular scouting played a larger role in evaluating Javier Vazquez than quantitative analysis.