In an offseason in which most teams handsomely rewarded mediocrity, the Atlanta Braves chose an alternative path. And instead of chasing the likes of Robinson Cano and Masahiro Tanaka, who signed for a combined $395 million, or re-signing Brian McCann, whom the New York Yankees eagerly gobbled up, general manager Frank Wren focused on extending the organization’s burgeoning, homegrown talent.
Since the 2013 season ended, Wren extended Jason Heyward (through his remaining arbitration years), Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran and most recently, Craig Kimbrel. Even Wren himself was extended within the past 48 hours, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s David O’Brien.
The general manager’s sole dip into free agency, in fact, has just been signing ex-Chicago White Sox hurler Gavin Floyd to a one-year, $4 million deal. And Floyd, who is nine months removed from Tommy John surgery, is really just a Plan B for a rotation featuring all Braves-developed pitchers; pitchers with an average age of 25.4, too.
With an established organizational strategy in place, one has to wonder where Wren and the Braves will draw the line, if at all. Is it possible that the reigning National League East champion Braves could manage to retain most of their productive core players? Continue reading