Over the last two weeks, Frank Wren has done exactly what every general manager in baseball hopes to do: lock down homegrown talent at something close to an affordable rate. His ability to do so has been remarkable.
Why extensions > free agency: Braves lock up Freeman/Heyward/Kimbrel in prime years for more yrs & less $ & than M's paying Cano in his 30's— jasoncollette (@jasoncollette) February 16, 2014
First came Jason Heyward's two-year deal. That was the domino effect that cleared the way for Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran and Craig Kimbrel all getting massive deals to keep them in Atlanta for a long time. And with more than a month remaining before the regular season begins, there's no telling if someone like Andrelton Simmons or Mike Minor could get an extension, too.
I was really skeptical when it came to extending Kimbrel, but after seeing today's deal, it was a no-brainer. The club locks down the best closer on the planet for a fair rate and it keeps him with the organization through at least the first year in Cobb County. It's apparent the Braves have already begun looking to the future with this new ballpark.
Another thing to consider: if Atlanta doesn't lock up core, maybe attendance doesn't follow them to Cobb County quite as much.— Dan Simpson (@DSimpson88) February 16, 2014
Factor in Kimbrel, Freeman, Teheran, Simmons, Minor and hopefully either Heyward or Justin Upton remaining with the club, and the Braves have a damn solid core to build around for a long time.
I do love all the prime years and lack of decline years that the Braves have locked up this offseason.— ＰＩＥ (@5GoatsPie) February 16, 2014
This is all credit to Frank Wren and the front office. Some folks were hilariously calling for him to be on the hot seat after last season, but there's no way to think of this guy as anything but one of the very best in the game.
While working with a declining payroll in a time of outrageous contracts being handed out, Wren has basically made this a 90+ win franchise three years in a row. The future remains incredibly bright. Has he made mistakes along the way? Of course -- but every general manager makes mistakes. The good is clearly outweighing the bad here.
The next contract extension should be Frank Wren's.— Talking Chop (@TalkingChop) February 16, 2014
I couldn't agree more. The Braves are fortunate have such a good GM calling the shots.