Evolution of the Atlanta Braves rebuild part one: 2015
By James Kunkle
As the Atlanta Braves complete their five year anniversary of the start of the rebuild, it’s kind of amazing how fast they were able to turn things around.
This will be the first part of a five-part trek through the rebuild highlighting key acquisitions made along the way that the Atlanta Braves are still benefiting from here in 2020.
It seems by the timing of everything, the Atlanta Braves and executives made a conscious effort in September of 2014 to overhaul most everything about the Atlanta Braves, including the front office and the roster of the entire team itself.
The first domino to fall was the firing of Frank Wren. The situation unfolded on September 22, 2014, which was a tad odd because obviously the season wasn’t even completed yet.
The Atlanta Braves finished the 2014 season with a 79-83 record and finished second in the NL East standings. Yet again, despite all this, they thought it was time to change.
It is important to keep in mind that money was probably the biggest influence in the decision to tear it down and rebuild from the ground up.
A lot of players were coming towards the end of their contracts and one would assume it was going to be tough for the Atlanta Braves to bring them back.
One cannot fault a team for getting some value back on a player that is not far from leaving for basically nothing.
The other factor when discussing money was the extensions that the aforementioned Frank Wren had handed out the past few years before. Examples include the following:
- Signed Dan Uggla to a 5-year extension after the 2010 season. He was released after the 2014 season but the Atlanta Braves were still on the hook for $19M in 2015.
- Signed BJ Upton after the 2012 season in a deal which was paying him $15M annually
- Giving Chris Johnson a 3 year, $24M extension.
None of those moves worked out and it hampered the franchise financially for a few years. However, Frank Wren also gave us some good deals as well. Examples include:
- Giving Freddie Freeman an extension that we are still reaping the benefits for
- He also gave Andrelton Simmons an extension, which is working out…just not for the Atlanta Braves
- Wren was also the person who signed Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, and Johan Camargo on the international market.
These are probably just a few of the reasons why the Atlanta Braves decided to “start over.” Only a select few know the complete story — most likely. Let’s go ahead and go year-by-year and examine how the roster transformed, starting with 2015.