UPDATE: The Braves have fired general manager Frank Wren and named senior adviser John Hart, the former Cleveland general manager, as his interim replacement. The Braves made the announcement via Twitter.
Here's a copy of the news release:
Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholz announced today that executive vice president and general manager Frank Wren has been dismissed. Schuerholz has named former Major League executive and MLB Network analyst John Hart as the club’s interim general manager.
In addition, the Braves have formed a three-person transition team that will include Schuerholz and Hart, as well as Hall of Famer and former Braves field manager Bobby Cox. This transition team will conduct the search to find a permanent general manager.
Hart, 66, joined the Braves in November 2013 as Senior Advisor, Baseball Operations. He spent eight seasons (2006-13) as a senior advisor with the Texas Rangers organization, following four seasons (2002-05) as that club’s general manager. He has been an analyst for the MLB Network since 2009.
Before joining the Rangers in November 2001, Hart spent 13 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, including the last 10 as executive vice president and general manager. After not advancing to postseason play since 1954, Cleveland captured six American League Central Division titles in a span of seven seasons (1995-2001), including two American League pennants (1995 and ’97) under Hart’s leadership. He was honored by The Sporting News as the Major League Executive of the Year in both 1994 and ’95.
Wren was in his 15th season with the Braves and his seventh as the club’s general manager. He was named to the GM post on October 11, 2007, when Schuerholz became the team president. Wren previously served eight seasons (2000-07) as the Braves’ vice president/assistant general manager.
I'll have a new blog posted shortly
It was exactly one month ago today when I sat with Braves CEO Terry McGuirk at a Buckhead breakfast spot and he sought to assure the masses that this potentially wasted season would not go unnoticed or un-acted upon.
“Everybody is accountable," McGuirk said after a series of questions about the job performances of general manager Frank Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez. "You just mentioned two guys who are accountable, I’m holding myself accountable. I don’t want to make any predictions. I don’t want to say even how or when meetings will occur. But if we don’t have success, know that we won’t be satisfied and we’ll be looking at things very hard.”
Some people hoped he would make some declaration like, "We'll fire (fill in the blank)!"
That promise is seldom uttered in the real world. But the reality is this franchise needs a new direction, whether it's in the front office, in the clubhouse or both. The Braves have had one good month. That was back in April.
It's possible Wren will get fired. It's possible Gonzalez will get fired. It has even been suggested the Braves will settle for some cosmetic change and bring in some overseer -- above Wren and below McGuirk and team president John Schuerholz -- to take a temperature of things and help guide the franchise for a season. (Thought: This option wouldn't please anybody.)
I'll weigh in with some feelings later in the week on what I believe the team should do, although it's been no secret I've found fault in roster construction for two years.
This much is certain: McGuirk is on the clock. This is a huge test of his power because he never has made a decision like this before. This franchise has been known for stability. The Braves haven't fired a general manager or manager since Russ Nixon was bounced as skipper in June of 1990. That's when Bobby Cox (then the general manager) went downstairs to take over the team and then team president Stan Kasten hired Schuerholz as general manager.
The Braves have seven games left in the season. But they were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs Sunday and realistically looked to be going nowhere weeks ago. McGuirk has had several weeks to think of this decision. I wouldn't expect it to take much longer. If an announcement is not made this week, expect something shortly after the final game in Philadelphia.
We're about to find out just how accountable McGuirk is going to make everyone.
A LOOK BACK: Terry McGuirk says everybody is accountable
A LOOK BACK: Full Q&A with Terry McGuirk