Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos had an interesting chat with David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an appearance on the latter’s Truth, Lies & Sacrifice Flies Podcast. It’s essential listening for Braves fans, but we’ll highlight a few notes of broader consequence here.
On the subject of the upcoming trade deadline, Anthopoulos emphasized that the team is focused less on salary — though that’s certainly still a factor — than on carefully managing its “prospect capital.” As he explained it, particularly with amateur penalties slowing the farm intake and an ongoing need for affordable MLB depth, the front office will be calculated in dispensing with its young talent in trades.
“There hasn’t been a baseball opportunity that money has stopped us from doing it,” Anthopoulos said. While that statement was made generally, it seems to have particular importance in reference to the division-rival Nationals’ recent acquisition of late-inning reliever Kelvin Herrera from the Royals.
While he did not really discuss the matter directly, Anthopoulos suggested that the organization knew what it would have taken to land Herrera. Obviously, the Braves decided not to pay it. With over a month left until the deadline and limited flexibility to make additions, it seems the Atlanta brain trust decided to save its chips.
That certainly seems to be a sensible approach for an organization in the Braves’ position. Beyond the ever-present potential for injuries, a team with so many inexperienced performers arguably faces greater uncertainty from the core of its roster. With only so much willingness to part with long-term assets for short-term gains, it stands to reason that the Braves (like most teams) want to gather as much information as possible before making any significant moves.
That’s not to say that there’s any indication that the Braves won’t seek to capitalize on their excellent start to the current season. Anthopoulos says he has reminded himself not to “lose sight of … what’s happening before your eyes” when weighing moves, noting that the team has already shifted its thinking to put the focus on winning games now.
Anthopoulos also emphasized multiple times that he believes the financial assets will be there when they are called for. As he put it: “I believe we will have those dollars available when we think there’s a really impactful move to make.”
There’s plenty more to unpack from this interview, so you’ll want to listen for yourself. Anthopoulos discussed his approach to his first offseason with the Braves as well as the performances of Dansby Swanson and Nick Markakis. He also gave notable thoughts on the team’s still-uncertain future plans at third base, acknowledging some incoming skepticism about Johan Camargo (as well as newfound cause for optimism) and assessing the status of hot corner prospect Austin Riley.