Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that the Braves will hire Alex Anthopoulos as general manager. He says an official announcement is possible at the GM meetings.
Anthopoulos, 40, was the Dodgers’ vice president of baseball operations. Prior to that, he was the Blue Jays’ GM from October 2009 to October 2015. He rejected a five-year contract extension from the Jays in 2015. That same year, he won the Sporting News Executive of the Year Award as the Jays ended a 21-year playoff drought.
The Braves’ front office was embattled as former GM John Coppolella violated rules in connection with the signing of international players. He resigned along with Gordon Blakeley, the special assistant to the GM. The team’s front office was still believed to be in turmoil last month, but at least it sounds like they will have a GM at the GM meetings.
If the report is indeed true, Anthopoulos will inherit what was believed to be at the start of the 2017 season baseball’s best minor league system. The Braves went 72-90 during the regular season and while top prospect Dansby Swanson struggled, other young players like Ozzie Albies impressed and more help is on the horizon. According to Cot’s Contracts, the Braves already have nearly $98 million in commitments for the 2018 season with reasonable assumptions of the salaries of arbitration-eligible players. The team opened the 2017 season with a $122.6 million payroll. It doesn’t seem like Anthopoulos will have the freedom to make any big splashes in free agency, though one can never completely write off the possibility.
We’re entering what is typically one of the slowest news weeks in the baseball calendar. Occasionally some big free agents sign around now. For example, it was 20 years ago today Andres Galarraga signed with the Braves, and I still remember being in an airport on the way home to visit my parents when I heard the news. I’m an old man.
The biggest news that is likely to happen this offseason is Giancarlo Stanton being traded. That hasn’t happened yet, but here are the latest bits of news on that:
Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Cardinals have made a formal trade offer to the Marlins for Stanton. No word what they’re offering, but the clubs have been in discussion for some time and it has been reported that the Marlins are the most interested in doing a deal with St. Louis due to the prospects they could send to Miami. There is a sense, however, that Stanton would be hesitant to approve a trade to the Cardinals because he prefers to play on the West Coast;
The Giants play on the west coast, and over the weekend they were reported to be the “most aggressive team” in trade talks for Stanton at the moment. Ken Rosenthal reports that the Giants have likewise made an offer. Their farm system is nowhere near as stocked as that of the Cardinals, so it’s unclear whether they have the prospects to make Miami happy. They could, of course, eat a lot of Stanton’s $295 million contract to make up for that, of course, but (a) doing so would put them over the luxury tax; and (b) the Marlins no doubt want to spur a rebuild with a Stanton trade, so if they can’t get some blue chip prospects back in return, what’s the point?
UPDATE: Who knows if this is anywhere close to enough — I’m guessing not — but this is what the Giants reportedly have on the table:
Anyway, that’s where we are as we begin Thanksgiving week.