The Atlanta Braves fired General Manager Frank Wren on Monday after the team was officially eliminated from playoff contention. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, Wren was fired amid frustration and anger in the front office as the team lost 14 of their last 18, falling three games below .500. The Braves have not had a losing record since 2008 and had not fired a general manager since 1990.
It turns out that General Manager Dayton Moore is on the short list to replace Wren as the Braves’ general manager. He may even be at the top of the list. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman calls him Atlanta’s most intriguing candidate. Dayton Moore refused to comment on the speculation.
Refusing to comment on rumors is slightly out of character for Dayton Moore. He may have said that there’s nothing to the rumors. He may have said that it’s out of his hands and he won’t waste time thinking about such rumors. He has said many similar things in his career, but rarely has he said absolutely nothing. He may not know much, but by not commenting, he makes it seem like he knows something; it may be that he’s considering whether to apply for the job or maybe the Braves already contacted him. Whatever the case, he’s feeding the rumor mill.
The Atlanta Braves general manager position comes with perks. He’d return to the organization that turned him into a rock star within the industry. Atlanta has a comparable cost of living to Kansas City, so a lifestyle change wouldn’t be out of order. The Braves have always been comfortable spending more than $100 million when necessary, which has yet to happen with the Royals. Having an additional $10-20 million available makes correcting mistakes much easier. It allows some flexibility when resigning players, which would come in handy with guys like James Shields and Billy Butler (also Alex Gordon and, soon, Eric Hosmer). It is a luxury he’s had to forgo thus far in his GM career. The Braves must look appealing.
On the downside, he’ll have to abandon an organization that he has spent eight years building. He is not only responsible for the players on the field, but also upgrading office equipment and hiring well-respected scouts and front office personnel. Everything that the Royals are, good and bad, comes directly from Dayton Moore’s efforts and that isn’t something easy to step away from.