Quite a day for the Braves. Less than 24 hours after getting eliminated from a postseason spot they bring the ax down on GM Frank Wren. This was one of the expected outcomes, but not the one I was hoping for. Fredi Gonzalez would have been a better choice to go, but from rumblings around the Twittersphere it sounds like the upper brain trust had other ideas:
I'm hearing what some other folks have speculated with #braves: Wren wanted Fredi Gonzalez out, and Bobby Cox pushed to keep him.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) September 22, 2014
I started off the day with a story at Bleacher Report about some consequences from the team’s failure to make the playoffs.
For my weekly ESPN Power Rankings blurb about the Braves, I decided to go in a different direction:
After the John Schuerholz presser I wrote this story over at B/R about how misguided the decision was to fire Wren.
I’m quite upset by this move. Not only because I think it’s the wrong move for the organization, but because I really like Frank Wren. I’ve had the pleasure to talk with him and interview him on several occasions, and each time he’s gone out of his way to give me his time and answer my questions.
I’ve also liked most of his moves. Obviously Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton are major exceptions, but just about every other move he’s made I have either liked or had no opinion on. I didn’t like the Chris Johnson extension, but I understood it, and it still might prove to be a smart move in a market light on third basemen.
I scratch my head when I try to piece together why Schuerholz gave Wren an extension in February of this year, with the roster pretty much set for opening day (save for some injuries and brilliant injury replacements), and then seven months later he’s suddenly not following “The Braves Way.”
All this begs some questions. Can any GM have success under the microscope and constraints apparently imposed by Schuerholz? Can the new GM fire Fredi Gonzalez without Bobby Cox intervening to put a stop to it? What kind of freedom will the new GM have to hand out the large contracts necessary to compete in this market?
I wonder how many GM candidates won’t consider the Atlanta job for fear that they wouldn’t have the freedom to make their own decisions. Schuerholz has certainly set a precedent of “toeing the party line” for anyone who takes this job.