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Report: Braves to hire Alex Anthopoulos as next general manager

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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.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.