On September 29th, Frank Wren said that the Braves would not part with the organization's top prospects. Then Jake Peavy became available and there was a flurry of speculation that the Braves would give up some of their top prospects for the opportunity to land the San Diego ace. But yesterday Wren reaffirmed his stance that the Braves would not trade their top prospects in an e-mail or letter sent to the Associated Press.
Wren obviously wanted to send a message, but who was that message really to? The letter seemed to be a reassuring message for us the fans who were concerned about the reported direction the team could be taking. But were we really the intended audience, or were we just a cover for the real recipient.
Was Wren trying to wrangle with the media? Perhaps he was mad that so many rumors were being purported to have originated from an Atlanta front office that has historically been tight-lipped. Perhaps he wanted to set the record straight in saying that he and he alone controls what behind the scenes information emanates from his office.
The other thought here is that this was some sort of negotiating tactic with San Diego. They are apparently watching Hanson with a close eye in Arizona, and perhaps in early trade conversations they were insistent on his inclusion -- Wren's repeated no's to Hanson's inclusion were not being taken seriously so he wanted to make it crystal clear who was available and who was not.
Regardless of his intention, in sending this letter he has shown part of his hand. This is perhaps the first big indication of Frank Wren's departure from the John Schuerholz style of being the Braves General Manager. Schuerholz would have never revealed his intentions so plainly, he would have never taken anyone off the table, and certainly not prospects. For a guy who has so far operated like an echo of Schuerholz, this is the first original sound Frank Wren has made.
Whatever the intention, it is a curious thing to do, and certainly it is more transparency than we've seen from the Atlanta front office in well over a decade. As a fan who is hungry for information, I love the fact that Wren felt compelled to reassure his team's fan base that their fears would not be realized. As a sometimes-critic of the organization, I can't help but think this move could lessen the Braves' negotiating ability in future trade discussions.