Wren discusses Braves’ season, playoff exit, future
Q: You could have used an ace down the stretch, is that something you would look to add from outside?
A: Unfortunately, aces or top-of-the-rotation starting pitching is the most rare commodity, whether it’s the trade market or free-agent market. And you look at this year’s free-agent market, there really isn’t one of those guys. Whether there’s going to be one in the trade market, I don’t know. But we recognize that that’s an area of need.
Q: I know you don’t like to say anyone is untouchable, but is (pitching prospect) Lucas Sims an all-but-untouchable?
A: I’m not going to get into specific names. Like every organization, we have prospects that we definitely would like to hold onto. … You’re always going to resist trading (them), and then there are going to come times where the deal is just too big and too important for your organization to pass on.
Q: Did you see enough of (Evan) Gattis to believe he could be an everyday catcher?
A: I think we saw that from spring training. We needed him to play left field to get his bat in the lineup, so his catching skills probably didn’t progress a lot this year. I think his knowledge of the game and calling games continued to grow because he was exposed at the major league level for the first time. But we saw enough of his catching skills early in the season to know that he could handle this job.
Q. Is there anything you can say regarding the McCann free-agency situation?
A: We’ll discuss it in the (organizational) meetings, and we’ll have further discussions as we go through the fall because a lot of those decisions will come up very quickly. Once the World Series is over, things start happening very quickly in that timeline.
The Atlanta Braves and Kroger Team Up With the Atlanta Community Food Bank to Strike Out Hunger
During the 2013 season, the Atlanta Braves and Kroger partnered to host Strike Out Hunger. This community initiative raised awareness on the disparity of hunger in Georgia and resources to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Founded in 1979, the Atlanta Community Food Bank procures over 45 million pounds of food and groceries each year and distributes it to over 600 hunger relief programs in 29 metro Atlanta and North Georgia Communities.
Friday Nights at Turner Field were known as Strike Out Hunger Night. Braves Fans made canned food and monetary donations to support the Atlanta Community Food Bank. In exchange for their contributions fans received autographs from current Braves pitchers. Additionally, several Braves Alumni, including Javy Lopez, Charlie Leibrandt, Jim Nash, Terry Pendleton, and Greg McMichael supported this initiative at various Kroger locations by signing autographs for fans that made donations to the Strike Out Hunger initiative.
To cap off a successful season, Braves pitcher Tim Hudson and Kroger representative Glen Jenkins, presented a check to Sara Fonder-Kristy of the Atlanta Community Food Bank on the field before the final home game of this season. Strike Out Hunger resulted in the collection of 9,228 pounds of food and $10,247 to assist the Atlanta Community Food Bank in providing healthy meals to Georgia families in need.
Atlanta Braves GM Frank Wren Has Blunt Words for Dan Uggla
With two years and $26 million left on Uggla’s contract, he battled vision problems in 2013 en route to a .179 batting average and 177 strikeouts. Wren said he understands to an extent, but that even after surgery things got worse.
“He started using the contacts [in June], and it seemed to get better for a short time,” Wren said on braves.com. “Then it seemed like it started deteriorating, and he had a tough time in August. We talked about having the [LASIK] surgery to ultimately correct it to where he would have time left to make progress in September. But there really wasn’t a lot of progress. That led us to make the decision we made [to leave him off the NLDS roster]. For Dan’s sake and our sake, we hope he can make some adjustments.”
But Wren had even more pointed words in regards to the Braves leaving Uggla off the playoff roster.
“We need him to perform better,” Wren said on espn.com. “That’s plain and simple.”
There has been rampant speculation that the Braves will attempt to trade Uggla this offseason, but that they could have to eat up to $20 million of the $26 million he’s owed.