Frank Wren is mad and out for vengeance, Steven Seagal style:
Braves general manager Frank Wren said today the Braves have notified the baseball agency that represents Rafael Furcal that they intend never to do business with them again.
The Braves thought they had a deal earlier this week to bring the star shortstop back to Atlanta, where he began his career, before Furcal decided to stay with the Dodgers for virtually the same terms. Wren said that Braves president John Schuerholz called Arn Tellem, who heads the baseball division of the Wasserman Media Group, to inform Tellem that the Braves will no longer enter into negotiations with them regarding baseball clients.
"We don't have any intention of doing business with them, and they've been notified of that,'' Wren told SI.com this afternoon.
Alright, maybe it's not Steven Seagal style, but it should leave quite an impression. We already know that the Braves are extrememly reluctant to do business with Scott Boras, so this is now two mega-agents (or agencies) that the Braves will essentially not talk to. In a market with limited options, this is going to limit them even further. I understand they are upset, but this is quite a drastic step.
I still think the Braves should file some sort of grievence with the Commissioner's office, even if they are not sure what rule was broken. It may sound like more whining, but I'm pretty sure that no one in baseball wants this to become the norm, so why not give the Commish a chance to squash it now.
[UPDATE: 12/18/08 @ 6pm]
John Schuerholz adds his voice to those upset in the Atlanta front office:
“Having been in this business for 40-some years, I’ve never seen anybody treated like that,” Schuerholz said. “The Atlanta Braves will no longer do business with that company — ever. I told [agent] Arn Tellem that we can’t trust them to be honest and forthright. I told him that in all my years, I’ve never seen any [agency] act in such a despicable manner.
“It was disgusting and unprofessional. We’re a proud organization and we won’t allow ourselves to be treated that way. I advised Arn Tellem that whatever players he represents, just scratch us off the list. Take the name of the Atlanta Braves off their speed dial. They can deal with the other 29 clubs and we’ll deal with the other hundred agents.” [...]
Schuerholz said he phoned Tellem Wednesday night.
“I expressed my great disappointment to him,” he said. “I watched as Frank shared with me the circumstances of his negotiations with Furcal — negotiations to the point where we increased our offer and he [Kinzer] then asked for a signed term sheet to be sent over. We never got that signed term sheet faxed back to us and we later found out why — because they took that offer and shopped it.”
When asked about Tellem’s reaction, Schuerholz said: “He was surprised. He tried to explain himself. He said he had nothing to do with it — it was the work of Paul Kinzer. I reminded him that [Kinzer] works for him and he has to stand behind the people who work for him. I told him I was making this official, and I was going to make it public.”
Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!
At least it's good to know that Johnny-S has Wren's back (though, I think we could have assumed that all along). Those Braves fans calling for Wren to be fired and Schuerholz to come back need to wake up and realize that this is not Wren's fault, and he's going nowhere.