Baseball America: Executive Database

So, what do we know about Frank Wren as a GM? Well, he’s held the role once before, for the Orioles in 1999. He was not successful, but I doubt Branch Rickey could have succeeded in that situation, with the worst owner in baseball allowing his son to hold the president job and a self-glorifying ex-GM (Syd Thrift) hanging around as Wren’s “special assistant”. Wren signed Albert Belle, but (1) he could not have known that Belle’s hip was about to go Bo Jackson on him and (2) I would guess that the Angeloi were the real decision-makers in that anyway.

Prior to his stint with the Orioles, Wren had mostly worked with Dave Dombrowski, first as an assistant scouting director for the Expos (where Dombrowski was farm director) and then as assistant GM to Dombrowski with the Marlins. Both those ballclubs did a good job developing talent; both were working (save for the splurge of 1996-97) on small payrolls.

Since 2000, Wren has been John Schuerholz’s top assistant. He’s apparently been the primary negotiator, at least in the last few seasons, and has had some responsibility for filling in the spring training/AAA rosters, signing minor league veterans.

I think that, given some money to work with, Wren will be somewhat more likely to sign free agents than Schuerholz was. The Braves signed (from what I can tell) only three Type A free agents from 1992-2007: Maddux, Jordan, and Galarraga. Schuerholz preferred to add veterans via trade. Wren probably won’t have Schuerholz’s trading skills, and thus the equation shifts a little towards free agency. I don’t expect too much of a change in philosophy, though. The question is of Wren’s skills, and we can’t know yet how they measure up.