ATLANTA (AP) Frank Wren, fired last week as general manager of the Baltimore Orioles, was hired as assistant general manager of the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday, just before the start of Game 2 in the NL championship series.
Wren, 41, replaces Dean Taylor, who left the Braves last month to become general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers.
"His credentials are absolutely perfect for this position," Braves GM John Schuerholz said. "He is immensely qualified. I can't imagine anyone bringing more qualifications to fill this position than Frank Wren."
Wren, reached via phone while driving to his Baltimore home Wednesday afternoon, said he hopes to be in Atlanta within a week. He talked with three or four clubs but the Braves were clearly his top choice.
"I'm excited to become part of a great organization," said Wren, who was listening to Game 2 on his car radio. "When you look around baseball, there's few organizations that stack up to the Atlanta Braves."
Wren, who spent 15 years in the Montreal Expos organization as a player, coach, scout and executive, was assistant GM of the Florida Marlins from 1991-98.
Wren lasted only one season as GM of the underachieving Orioles, who finished fourth in the AL East at 78-84 despite having baseball's third-highest payroll, $78.5 million, on opening day.
Wren was cited for several incidents that rubbed management the wrong way. The most notable offense came last month, when he ordered the team flight to Anaheim to leave on time after Cal Ripken called to say he would arrive late. Ripken had to scramble to make his own arrangements.
"The Orioles management cannot and will not abide having a general manager operate in such an unreasonable, authoritarian manner and treat anyone in this way, especially someone such as Cal who has done so much for the Orioles and for baseball," vice chairman and chief operating officer Joe Foss said.
Wren, who was fired with two years left on a three-year contract, said Wednesday he couldn't comment on that issue. He is still trying to reach a settlement with the Orioles.
Schuerholz said he was not concerned by the circumstances of Wren's firing in Baltimore.
"It was not an issue for us," the Braves GM said.
Taylor was Schuerholz's right-hand man, handling many of the day-to-day administrative duties such as contract negotiations and basic agreement matters. Wren will handle that role but also have more substantial influence over trades, free-agent signings and other player personnel matters, Schuerholz said.
Wren made several fine trdes during his year in Baltimore, getting starter Jason Johnson for Danny Clyburn and obtaining a handful of good pitching prospects for Juan Guzman and Harold Baines. But he also put together a bullpen consisting of Seattle rejects Heathcliff Slocumb, Mike Fetters and Mike Timlin.
Wren said he didn't look at the Braves' job as a step down on his career path, though he clearly would like to run another team someday. For now, he wants stability for himself, his wife and their three young sons.
Although he does not have a close relationship with Schuerholz, Wren anticipates a good working atmosphere.
"I think it will work tremendously," he said. "I think I can complement him and assist him in many areas. That's what I did for Dave Dombrowski in Florida. And I loved the job I did in Florida."
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