Tuesday, October 30, 2007

GM, part two

Actually, this is more about the Braves' new GM, Frank Wren, who made waves within hours of the end of the World Series by trading SS Edgar Renteria to the Tigers for two prospects with a lot of upside, RHP Jair Jurrjens and OF Gorkys Hernandez.

As a Braves fan (since the late 60s) it's a fascinating move. The deal that brought Renteria to Atlanta was a classic John Schuerholz move -- swap a minor league stud prospect (Andy Marte) for a major league veteran who didn't work out for his current team (and even better, get the other team to pay part of the vet's salary!). Renteria played All Star caliber shortstop for two seasons and was by all accounts a terrific teammate. Andy Marte wound up in Cleveland where he's going from prospect to suspect. (This is also emblematic of Schuerholz's tenure -- he ate other GMs' lunch.)

Edgar is now in Detroit, where he will rejoin Jim Leyland, his manager from the 1997 World Champion Florida Marlins, and may well play against his Atlanta mates in another World Series. Detroit gives up a 21-y.o. pitcher who could be in the rotation next year and a dazzling young OF. It's a nice story for everyone. Before the trade, the Braves had three middle infielders, not two, and a big hole in the rotation and a need to cut salary. Problem solved?

The deal also marks a big departure from the SOP under Schuerholz's tenure. I can't remember JS ever trading a veteran exclusively for minor league prospects. He treated minor leaguers as either a) potential Braves or b) trade material to be packaged to other clubs for their veteran players. The last big trade Atlanta made for another team's top prospect was in 1987, Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz (also with the Tigers) and Bobby Cox was the GM.

I have no idea if this is an indication of Wren's preferences but even if it isn't, he certainly promises to be an unpredictable successor to "homeboy."

I like it, simply because it was such a surprising move. And considering the reaction of the Detroit faithful ("No! Not Jurrjens!") to the trade, in the long run the Braves may have scored again, big time.

1 comment:

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