In a chat with Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Atlanta’s general manager Alex Anthopoulos discussed the moves that he and his club made before this year’s trade deadline. In particular, they focus on the Adam Duvall trade and how, although the discussions with the Marlins and general manager Kim Ng had been going on for over a week, the final deal came together in the last 24 hours.
“We had been talking to them about Duvall for at least 10 days and it just wasn’t going anywhere,” Anthopoulos said. “That [late-night] call was a breakthrough conversation, but there would still have to be discussions the next day. Then finally around 12:30 or 1 o’clock, we got that deal done.” Presumably, it was during this late-night call that Anthopoulos put catcher Alex Jackson on the table, as he was the only other player involved in the deal. It is perhaps not a coincidence that, three weeks later, the club and catcher Travis d’Arnaud signed a two-year extension to make up for the subtracted depth at the position.
“After that call, it felt like this was going to happen… We wanted to talk about it internally, and [the Marlins] were going to do the same thing.” Bowman then goes on to detail the acquisitions of Eddie Rosario, Richard Rodriguez and, finally, Jorge Soler. As Bowman writes, “Around 3:30 p.m. ET, assistant general manager Jason Paré suggested the Braves call Kansas City one more time.”
These details give some insight into the collaborative nature of front offices and the different factors at play. As much as Alex Anthopoulos, or other GMs, might occasionally seem like rogue traders, a baseball front office is a multicellular organism that requires good rapport, within itself and to other clubs.
Of course, the other factor that is always present is the budget. Anthopoulos and his team got a midseason boost in that regard, as he told Bowman that Atlanta’s chairman Terry McGuirk offered an increase based on their good early-season revenues. “He basically gave me a large amount of money to work with. I was ecstatic. That’s a credit to those fans who came out and supported this club and put us in this position.”
Due to the ability to take on these contracts, the club upgraded their bullpen and totally remade their outfield, propelling them to a strong finish to the season. On the day of the deadline, July 31st, Atlanta was actually below .500, sitting on a record of 52-54, five games behind the Mets in the NL East. But from August 1st onwards, they went 36-19, leapfrogged the Mets, cruised to a fourth-consecutive division crown and now find themselves preparing for an NLDS matchup with the Brewers that begins on Friday.