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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.

Attempting to complete cycle, Robinson Chirinos thrown out to end game

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With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.

Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.

The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.

Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.