The Braves have just announced that they agreed to a contract extension through 2014 with general manager Frank Wren.
Not surprising. And, even though I snark at him sometimes, not a bad move. Wren doesn’t always hit, but he’s hit more than he’s missed lately, and the player development machine — pitchers mostly, but some good position players like Jason Heyward, Freddie Freemen and Andrelton Simmons — he has kept operation in good order. His non-move on the Ryan Dempster deal was a good one. He hasn’t done harm, and that’s probably the most important thing.
And really, given that the fundamental dynamic of running the Atlanta Braves involves dealing with the iron-clad budget given to the team by their corporate overlords at Liberty Media, keeping a guy who is used to that is probably a good move.
Wren’s biggest immediate challenge: filling holes at third base — and the middle of the lineup, really — with the retirement of Chipper Jones and center field with the presumed departure of free agent Michael Bourn. He now has a couple years more breathing room in which to do it.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.