Wren Could Face Major Dilemna

Double-A Mississippi

Double-A Mississippi

Braves general manager Frank Wren could face a very complicated decision within the next two years.

When Frank Wren signed center fielder B.J. Upton to a 5-year $75 million deal last off-season, he not only made a huge financial commitment to Upton.  He also committed the Braves to giving Upton absolutely every opportunity to play center field.

The Dan Uggla situation has shown us what happens when the Braves sign a player to a huge, long-term contract.  No matter how unproductive the big-money player may be, the Braves feel obligated to play him (at least until the playoffs).  The 2014 season marks the fourth year of Uggla’s five-year deal, and despite his disappointing numbers at the plate and dwindling range in the field, he remains the Braves starter at second base heading into this season.

If B.J. Upton doesn’t get his production turned around, it could present one of the strangest situations that Braves fans have witnessed in many a year.

Wren’s son, Kyle, was drafted by the Braves last spring.  Unlike Braves President John Schuerholz’s son Jonathan, who was also drafted by the Braves, Kyle Wren can really play.  I covered Georgia Tech baseball when Kyle was a freshman and watched as he earned All-ACC honors.

Kyle Wren has a smooth swing, plays solid center field, runs well and can steal bases.  He also has excellent baseball instincts, which isn’t surprising considering his lineage.  Wren hit .409 in 25 at bats in the Rookie League and followed that up by hitting .328 with a .382 on-base percentage .456 slugging percentage and 32 stolen bases in 38 attempts at Single-A Rome.

If he keeps developing, it wouldn’t surprise me if Kyle Wren is promoted to Double-A Mississippi by mid-season.  Once a player hits Mississippi and is productive, he is literally a phone call away from the Big Show.  The Braves often bypass Triple-A and call up players straight from Mississippi.

It may be a major stretch for Kyle Wren to be called up to the majors by this season.  But he could be in the Braves camp next spring.  And what if the kid really develops and becomes a top prospect, how ironic would it be if his road to playing as a regular in the major leagues is blocked by a guy who his dad signed to a big money contract?  A guy who may be making big money, but is not very productive.

Frank Wren could face the ultimate decision for a general manager and a father.  Do you keep the guy who you as the general manager signed to a lucrative long-term contract, at the expense of your son who is a  better player?

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  • Stu

    slightly early because BJ can turn things around and Wren could struggle initially, which would back things up a lot

    • Stu, as a journalist, better two years early than a day late… :)

  • Raul Vizcarrondo

    BJ can never turn things around far enough so that he becomes what he has never been = a good ball player.

    • Kinda harsh, Raul?

      • Raul Vizcarrondo

        Maybe so, but sometimes reality is harsh. I’ve watched him for many years now. His early “success” was smoke & mirrors. Pitchers have been clued in. He has no plate discipline. He is one of the easier outs in MLB. Each year that he ages is one more year of reduction in the only area of talent he has, speed.

  • bravesfan22

    well if he can play a good CF then why not covert him to Rf when Heywards’ contract is up?

    • Wren has a center fielder’s arm, doesn’t throw well enough to play left. If he played anything other than center, it would be left.

  • rick staley

    Bossman Jr. will be fine Jim. This isn’t the first time a player signs a big FA contract and tries too hard to live up to the monetary value that he winds up in a serious rut. His albatross contract means he is wearing a Tomahawk for a long time.

    However, if Wren proves worthy to play in the show within next 2 yrs., I believe that either JUp10 or J-Hey leaves for mo’ money(the one remaining mans RF) with Bossman Jr. playing CF, and Wren playing LF.

    • Rick, what do you think we can reasonably expect from BUpton this year? His numbers last season are a long way from even being bad.

      • rick staley

        .235/.320/.425…these are numbers that i’m expecting to see from Bossman in 2014. The key here is in spring training allow him to hit in the leadoff (when J-Hey is out) and the 2-hole so he can acquire as many AB’s in the position Wren would rather use him in during the season.

        Bossman needs to feel the expectations for him all the while aware that if he is more comfortable down in the order, then so be it. Gap-to-gap should be Bossman’s point of focus this season.

        Moreover, he needs to hit to RF, and bunt more because he can literally fly on the base paths. He doesn’t need to hit HR’s to be an asset in Tomahawk Nation. Speed never goes in a funk, but I’m still awaiting on someone to steal 1B…lol.