Braves GM Frank Wren Interviewed ON Sirius XM Radio Today Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Wren On Braves Post Season Roster

GM Frank Wren was on XM Radio Power Alley this morning talking about the Braves clinching the east and how the post season might look. Here are the highlights from my notes.

On the subject of the lineup Wren told Mike Ferrin and Mike Stanton that the Braves would put out the best lineup regardless of who has the most playing time. That seems to imply an outfield of Evan Gattis, Jason Heyward and Justin Upton and an infield that has Elliot Johnson at second base. In an AL park you may see Jordan Schafer in left and Gattis as DH.

Ask about Alex Wood, Wren was noncommittal at this stage but seemed to lean towards using Woody out of the bullpen. He said that you often have a game where the starter has trouble early and you need a long man who’s stretched out; that’s Woody. He also said that Woody had done well in relief early in the year. I could see him being extremely valuable in a five game series as a left handed power arm. In the seven game series that follow the question is do you trust Paul Maholm or Freddy Garcia ahead of Wood as a starter?  I don’t. Not withstanding Barry Zito slicing up the Tigers while Justin Verlander flopped around,o  in post season play power arms generally win.  While Woody has struggled of late and I still believe he lacks the pitching maturity to win when his stuff isn’t at its best, he’s a much better option. I think the Braves do as well.  Using Woody in the pen and perhaps skipping a start will give him a lot of rest and that will hopefully revive his left arm. With Brian McCann or Gerald Laird behind the plate to guide him (you won’t see Gattis back there in post season play) he can work his way through any difficulties and if not the soft tossers can come out of the pen and  eat innings.

Wren was enthusiastic about Kris Medlen’s performances in the second half – 2.63 ERA, 1.075 WHIP, 64K, 13 walks, opponents hitting .241 with an OBP of just .277 – and barring injury I expect him to start game one in Atlanta. Like the Braves Medlen does better at home posting a 2.45 and a 1.238 WHIP at the Ted and a 4.04 ERA and 1.270 WHIP on the road. a Mike Minor would I believe follow Meds and Julio Teheran would pitch game three. The GM also said that Freddie Freeman was team MVP but we know from other interviews that Terry Pendleton calls Andrelton Simmons “The Difference” because of his play at short and Simba is in fact having a superb year defensively. His 6.6 WAR is fourth among NL every day players, but his DWAR of 5.5 is first by a margin of 1.1. His defensive runs saved (DRS) of 42 leads MLB. Hitters get the glory and I love Freddie Freeman, but without SIMBA at SS the Braves would be up a creek

On Another Note

I live in Texas and the possibility that Nelson Cruz would get suspended hung over the Rangers all year. I heard Jon Daniels say many times that they were not going to worry about that until it happened but USA Today Sports reported late Sunday night  that the Rangers offered the Braves Matt Garza, closer Joe Nathan and outfielder David Murphy for Justin Upton. That makes little sense to me. I know the Rangers needed JUP but trading the starter you just acquired, your closer and a pretty good platoon outfielder albeit one having a bad year doesn’t make any sense at all. Still stranger things have happened. Pity  they didn’t offer Dan Uggla for Ian Kinsler.

That’s A Wrap

Bear in mind that I was trying to take notes while the GM talked and I’m paraphrasing his words. This is the way things are today, who knows what tomorrow will bring. The Braves have to keep winning to get home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

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  • Chris Headrick

    At this point in the season, I will be infinitely surprised if Dan Uggla and BJ Upton, either one or both, don’t get the start in the post-season. I base that on nothing more than them being used way too often during their slumps this regular season. If it was the right thing in Wren’s mind then, why wouldn’t it be in the post-season? I disagree now, and hope that both sit the bench whatever the score, but I’ll be surprised if that happens.

    • fireboss

      The question something like “two of your big name players have been in slumps this year will you how will that affect the post season” He said that he and Fredi were in agreement that they would put their best lineup out in post no matter who had the most playing time or biggest name (Paraphrasing of course) He said Jason was feeling good about both starts and working his way back to where he was pre-injury. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking but I hear Jason Justin Evan in the outfield and EJ at second. I think Uggla’s pouting has soured the office on him. He’s gone this winter IMO

    • Joseph Fain

      To your point, I actually see it as infinitely different. I think the Braves felt like their big lead in the division gave them the opportunity to try and get Uggla and BJ’s bats going for the playoffs. Obviously that hasn’t happened, so they will likely be benched for most of the playoffs. As I have posted before, I agree that Uggla’s bitching will likely lead to him being gone this offseason. The Braves are a very patient club when the player has the right attitude but have shown little appetite for this kind of thing in the past (see Escobar’s situation and he was playing much better than Uggla).

      To the rotation question, I had previously posted that I would go with Wood over Medlen, but that has definitely changed over the past 6 weeks. I like the way that Wren laid things out. It is extremely valuable to have a long man in the pen in the playoffs so that you can quickly yank a starter that isn’t having a good day before the game is totally out of reach. I also agree that we should go with Wood over Maholm or Garcia in a 7-game series.