Tag:Frank Wren
Posted on: February 17, 2011 6:50 pm
 

McLouth comeback essential to Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- There is no surefire, guaranteed path to success for the Atlanta Braves this season. But one sure way to make things easier is center fielder Nate McLouth bouncing back from a miserable 2010 and again becoming the player he once was.

McLouth last summer suffered a concussion, played in only 85 games and batted a career-worst .190 with a .298 on-base percentage. Both were career lows.

"I'm thankful for a clean start," McLouth says. "I'm ready to get this season kicked off and move on. Last season was tough, but the minute I stepped out of the clubhouse, I left it behind.

"I actually backed off of hitting a little this winter because you get so many swings down here. I backed off what I've done in the past."

The hope, he said, is less is more. No more paralysis by analysis. Even in baseball, sometimes there is such a thing as overpreparing.

"I'm definitely guilty of that," says McLouth, whom the Braves project as their center fielder and No. 2 hitter (behind Martin Prado). "When I don't feel right, I tend to overdo it. Last year, I wasn't feeling right and I almost paralyzed myself I was working so much."

McLouth, whom the Braves acquired from Pittsburgh in June, 2009, for pitcher Charlie Morton and two minor leaguers, suffered the concussion last June 9 (he was hitting .176 with a .295 on-base percentage at the time) and didn't return until July 21.

"The main thing I noticed was, I wasn't ever close to full strength after that in terms of endurance and body strength. For a month or two after, I couldn't lift of work out. I felt slow.

"It was nice to be able to work out this offseason."

There's no guarantee that McLouth will be able to return to his 2008 form, when he hit .276 with a .356 OBP and led the NL with 46 doubles, but if he can get close, the Braves will take it.

"I think we're all optimistic that Nate's too good a player, and has been over the course of time, to think what we saw last year is what should be expected," Atlanta general manager Frank Wren says. "He's another guy where we've seen him over the course of the winter, and his demeanor and his presence ... everything's changed from a year ago."

Sunblock Day? There already have been more nice days in the first week in Florida than all of last spring combined. Sunny and mid-70s. Pass the sunblock.

Likes: Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. on Hall of Famer Stan Musial and what he means to St. Louis: "To think of what he has meant to the Cardinals, not only during his playing days, but subsequent to when he played. And every time he comes on the field and makes an appearance, the place reveres him and lets him know that." ... The Sweet Potato-Encrusted Yellowtail and the Pumpkin Coconut Whatever at the delicious Leftovers Café in Jupiter, Fla. The fish was excellent, and with a name like that, you had to order the dessert. Think pumpkin pie without the crust. ... The ribs and bread pudding at Lee Roy Selmon's Barbecue in Tampa. Mmm, mmm, mmm. ... Really liked True Grit. The girl, Hailee Steinfeld, was incredible, especially given all of the difficult dialog she had to deliver. ... Dog show in Lakeland, Fla. Over 4,000 dogs here. Not going, just like hearing it. My dog, Slugger, would be so proud.

Dislikes: Oh, Miguel Cabrera. ...

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"May the good Lord shine a light on you
"Make every song you sing your favorite tune
"May the good Lord shine a light on you
"Warm like the evening sun"

-- Rolling Stones, Shine a Light

Posted on: November 14, 2008 5:31 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2008 6:56 pm
 

Braves pull out of Peavy talks

The Atlanta Braves have pulled out of the Jake Peavy trade talks and will move ahead with other plans general manager Frank Wren told CBSSports.com on Friday.

"We notified the Padres yesterday that based on our last offer not being accepted, we were out of it," Wren said.

The Braves were set to send shortstop Yunel Escobar, pitcher Charlie Morton, reliever Blaine Boyer and Class A outfielder Gorkys Hernandez to the Padres for Peavy, who would have had to waive his no-trade clause.

The Braves felt they were moving toward a deal, according to sources, and on Wednesday believed they were going to obtain the pitcher they had been attempting to acquire since October.

But then something changed, and in Wren's conversations with the Padres it became apparent that a deal was not as close the Braves were thinking. The Atlanta GM declined comment on what explanation the Padres gave him for not accepting the deal.

"It just didn't work," Wren said.

The Braves became perplexed over the past six weeks by the Padres' handling of the negotiations, sources with knowledge of the talks say, and still don't know for sure why San Diego sent such conflicting signals to them this week.

The Braves believe that they were assuming significant risk in the deal not only because of the package of players they were willing to deal, but also because of Peavy's history of injuries.

"We were never that comfortable with the players we were talking about because we're a club that likes to build from within," Wren said. "And as the deal evolved, it was going to impact too many of those players."

Despite periodic trepidation as negotiatons were moving forward, though, the Braves ultimately were willing to part with some prospects they viewed as key -- except for prospect Tommy Hanson.

Even at that, they still feel that their offer for Peavy surpassed any others the Padres have received.

So now the Braves will take their search for two starting pitchers elsewhere. Wren said that they have a couple of trade possibilities working, plus they will dive into the free agent market.

Aside from CC Sabathia, who they view as too expensive, the Braves figure to be involved in anybody and everybody on the free agent market. They've already believed to have touched base with A.J. Burnett, and figure to do the same with Derek Lowe and Ryan Dempster, among others.

"Jake is a player who would have fit into our club very well," Wren said. "But it was a very rich deal, and at the end of the day we just didn't feel like it made sense for our organization to keep talking."

Of course, the offseason is filled with posturing as clubs seek to make deals -- both in the trade and free-agent markets -- and everybody has an agenda and wants their angle out there.

Could this be a case of the Braves doing the same? If the Padres were to call back before Atlanta finishes its pitching plans for the winter, could something still get done?

"We're trying to improve our club," Wren said. "I'm never going to close the door to anything. We have no active discussions going on. We're actively pursuing other things.

"Would I take a call? Yes. But that's not our focus."

The Chicago Cubs, also searching for pitching, are believed to still be interested. However, Towers told the San Diego Union-Tribune on Friday that the club may turn to the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com