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.