2007 NEWS

2007 News > 11/7/07

By Mark Bowman, MLB.com
Original Article HERE.

ATLANTA -- Braves general manager Frank Wren has called Tom Glavine to express the club's interest in bringing him back. Whether or not Glavine is pitching in Atlanta next year will become clearer next week when the two parties are able to begin talking financial specifics.

While wrapping up the events of the second day of the General Manager Meetings in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday evening, Wren publicly confirmed for the first time that the Braves are definitely interested in Glavine, who was with their organization from 1987-2002.

Last week, Wren contacted Glavine's agent Gregg Clifton to express this interest. Major League clubs will be allowed to begin talking financial specifics with other organization's free agents Tuesday.

At that time, the Braves will gain a better sense of how much of a hometown discount they may receive from Glavine, who has maintained his family's suburban Atlanta home and previously expressed interest in spending at least one more season playing alongside his good friend John Smoltz and under the direction of manager Bobby Cox.

"We think adding Tommy would clearly make our rotation a lot better," said Wren of the 41-year-old Glavine, who has pitched at least 198 innings and won at least 13 games each of the past three seasons.

When Glavine declined New York's $13 million option for the 2008 season, some members of the Mets organization reportedly saw this as further indication that he wants to pitch in Atlanta.

One of the game's most respected individuals, Glavine would undoubtedly prove to be a welcome leader in any clubhouse. But the fact that his 23 quality starts ranked fifth in the National League last year provides indication that he still has plenty to offer on the mound.

Before struggling in his final three starts this year, Glavine had enjoyed a 10-start stretch during which he went 5-0 with a 2.66 ERA. His ability to eat innings and solidify the middle of the rotation would certainly benefit Smoltz and Tim Hudson, who experienced added stress while serving as the Braves' only consistent starting pitchers this past season.

Wren's primary objectives this offseason center around improving his rotation and finding a center fielder. While he might utilize the free-agent market to land Glavine, he'll likely use the trade market to find Andruw Jones' replacement in center field.

Seeking to avoid the possibility of placing an inexperienced Jordan Schafer or Brent Lillibridge in center field, Wren says his intention is to fill this void with a short-term solution via trade.

In other words, free agents like Torii Hunter, Aaron Rowand or even the less expensive Mike Cameron aren't on Wren's wish list. And if he can avoid it, he wants to find somebody more experienced than Schafer, who has never played above the Class A level, or Lillibridge, a top shortstop prospect who hasn't played the outfield on a consistent basis since his freshman season at the University of Washington in 2003.

"Both players [Schafer and Lillibridge] are very talented and have bright futures," Wren said. "But at the end of the day, I think we'd prefer to have a more experienced player -- for now."

Wren says he's targeted a few center fielders to obtain via trade and believes his organization has plenty of young talent that could be utilized to complete one of these deals. He added this trade might be one that includes a young player that has been deemed expendable by another organization or possibly even an affordable veteran with limited time remaining on his contract.