First off, I'm bored.
Second, this is a half-crocked attempt at a bit of spirited and whimsical debate. I don't expect this to bear any provable truths, it's just a wacky conspiracy theory and should be interpreted as such. That said, here it is.
Frank Wren traded Yunel Escobar not because of Bobby Cox, but because of Fredi Gonzalez.
That's right, I said it.
Let's be honest. Bobby could have probably put up with Yunel for the remainder of the season, and so could the team.
However, who's the one person who could ill-afford to have yet another run-in with a problematic shortstop??
Fredi Gonzalez, the successor to Bobby's throne.
May 19: Hanley Ramirez has his altercation with Fredi Gonzalez.
June 23: Fredi Gonzalez is fired as manager of the Florida Marlins.
July 14: Three weeks to the day that Gonzalez is fired, Yunel Escobar is traded to Toronto for Alex Gonzalez.
After one spat with a prima donna shortstop, Gonzalez cannot withstand the potential of another occurrence. It could mar his reputation as a manager, both with front offices as well as with players. He has to maintain a level of respect from both sides in order to succeed as a manager.
In Yunel Escobar, that possibility of a rift clearly existed. He had his own squabbles with Cox, and things didn't appear as if they'd change for the better any time soon.
So Yunel gets shipped away for one player Frank Wren knows can coexist with Fredi: Alex Gonzalez.
Fredi's first manager job came in 1997 with the Portland Sea Dogs. Interestingly, Alex Gonzalez was the starting shortstop on that team. Both Gonzalezes reached the major leagues together in 1999 (it should be noted that the SS played 25 games with the Marlins in 1998), with the shortstop being a rookie and the elder Gonzalez taking over 3rd base coach duties with the Marlins. In total, they have three years of history together prior to this season. And they're both Gonzalezes.
So there you have it, folks. Frank Wren orchestrated this deal, pulled these strings long before anyone else could pull them, before any of the yarn binding this team together could really unravel. He did it during Bobby's tenure because Bobby's history with Yunel was well-known, and Bobby could easily handle the criticism of the situation as he rode off into the sunset. In so doing, Bobby again protected one of his guys, one Fredi Gonzalez, heir apparent.
PS: Tune in with us next whenever I'm bored for another installment of Braves of Our Lives.