Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
More from Atlanta Braves General Manager Frank Wren's interview with Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette on MLB Network Radio's "Front Office" show on SiriusXM from Sunday.
If you missed Tony's update on what Wren said in the interview about B.J. Upton's visit to Atlanta, you can find it here.
I listened to the interview and transcribed some of what he said. Here are some excerpts from the interview on the MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM from Wren.
Wren: "Obviously, we had one of the best tandems in baseball with (Brian) McCann and (David) Ross for the last few years, and David did a terrific job for us but we also knew he was going to be in high demand...so we knew that was coming down the pipe this off-season. Boston stepped up and gave him a deal that he really couldn't refuse, and we understood that and congratulated him on it.
"At the same time, we felt coming out of our meetings that Gerald Laird was the next guy, and we were excited to be able to get him because we think he can help us get through that early part of the season, which we hope won't be longer than 2-3 weeks when Brian McCann's not quite ready. And then, (Laird) can be a real good backup for Brian after that."
On Brian McCann's health and timetable for a return:
Wren: "It's so early in the off-season, but every indication is he's doing very well so far. We'll know a lot more in spring training, but if everything goes perfect, he shouldn't miss more than a couple of weeks of the season. If there is a little extra delay, maybe three weeks. Right now, it's hard to really put a date on it."
On if Michael Bourn is still a realistic option for Atlanta due to his expected cost:
Wren: "It's hard to say. You guys know better than anyone that when you're out fishing, you've got a lot of lines in the water because you're not sure which fish you're going to catch. We've got all the lines in the water, and we're exploring the free agent market for center field as well as trade opportunities. We're working them all."
On Martin Prado:
Wren: "...In a perfect world, we probably would like Martin to play third base for us and come up with a couple of outfielders."
On if Andrelton Simmons could be a potential leadoff hitter in 2013:
Wren: "We're looking at outside options primarily (for leadoff). If we don't have Bourn back, I think we first look at outside options, but if our club came together and we couldn't find a suitable outside (option), Simmons is probably the most likely candidate. Talking with (hitting coach) Greg Walker and Fredi (Gonzalez) over the last week, they both feel like he could do that. He's surprised us at every level with his offensive ability, and his defense doesn't surprise us because it's so good. He'd probably be our most likely candidate internally."
On if Wren and Atlanta would potentially be in on Josh Hamilton at all:
Wren: "I really don't know. Like I said, we checked in on everything. We're keeping tabs on everything. The dance hasn't really started on most of these big free agents; in that terms and the money really hasn't started exchanging...exchanging your thoughts with the representatives. I don't know the answer to any of those things."
On the need to add balance to a left-handed heavy lineup:
Wren: "I think right-handed is where we are a little limited, and I think it showed up a little bit this past year. It was a little tougher for Fredi to balance out our club with all of our left-handed hitters, so I think that is something that we're cognizant of. As we look at building our team, especially in the middle of the lineup, we need to have a little more right-handed presence. It just gives (Fredi) more flexibility in building that lineup facing left-handed pitching."
On what Atlanta's GM suite at the Winter Meetings will be like and who will be there:
Wren: "We generally set it up more as a giant living room. We're not big on a lot of folding chairs and tables and all that kind of thing. We like to have more of a relaxed atmosphere. We spend a lot of time in that room, and we spend a lot of time discussing all the possibilities. We'll have a projector in there where we're able to project not only video of the players we're talking about, but also our scouting reports so everyone in the room can see. We'll have a whiteboard where we're putting down all the possibilities and trade options that we may have. We'll be spending a lot of time at that board talking about different options.
"When we first get there, we'll talk about every organization and who we matchup with and who we don't. Our six major league scouts will be there. They'll each be assigned certain organizations that they need to go gather information from or give information to and say 'hey, we will trade x, y, and z and we won't trade a, b, and c.' You want to get that information back to the General Managers if you don't talk to them directly. It's four or five days of a lot of internal meetings."
On how much you know about other team's needs after GM Meetings and heading into the Winter Meetings:
Wren: "I think going into the GM Meetings, you have a good sense of every team and then you get a little more information and probably whittle down the possibilities when you get post GM Meetings leading to Winter Meetings. So, I think when we get to the Winter Meetings, we'll have a small handful of teams that we know we match with, we know there's something working, and you want to continue to (work) it out and see if you can really make a deal."