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Atlanta Braves GM tells A-list members: A deal is close

HOUSTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 03: Brad Peacock #41 of the Houston Astros shakes hands with Brian McCann #16 after defeating the Minnesota Twins 4-1 at Minute Maid Park on September 3, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Yesterday Atlanta Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos shared information during a get together for A-list members, including his view of when the market would start to move. The most exciting piece of information came when he said the Braves were near to completing a deal.

Atlanta Braves fans are confused about the course of the team this offseason. Immediately after the season began, fans heard that the team looked to add a catcher, corner outfielder, bullpen help and a TOR starter. Then they signed a third baseman.

The Josh Donaldson signing came 20 days after he told Gabe Burns the Braves were set in the infield. I and others thought third base belonged to Johan Camargo, but Anthopoulos knew – or had a high degree of certainty – when he made those comments, Donaldson would sign with the Braves.

What we read – perhaps because we wished it – as cementing Camargo at third, in retrospect was only praise for his bat and general defensive ability. Twelve days after the Burns interview, McCann told old friend Mark DeRosa he and Donaldson were coming to Atlanta.

DeRosa said on air the day after the announcement of the deal (sorry no link) that he’d known for a week because of that call from McCann.  Anthopoulos didn’t lead us astray, but he only gave us part of the story.

Two days after the announcement of those signings, Anthopoulos told MLB Network Radio that wasn’t the end of his search for players.   The Atlanta Braves still sought a corner outfielder, an “impact bullpen arm” and would love a TOR starter. Since then, nothing but silence, platitudes, and an apparent knee-jerk change to the leadership of scouting staff.

That’s just a reminder that we should read what he said and not extrapolate it to what we want it to say. With that in mind, here are his comments to the A-list group as pointed out in a series of tweets by A-list member @simsolo.

The state of the market

The market’s stagnant, and it isn’t – as some agents suggest – collusion to hold down contract costs. In the post-PED-era, teams are focused on keeping younger, less expensive talent.  The leads to a feeding frenzy when talents like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and coming names like Nolan Arenado and Mike Trout hit the market.

The market is paused now… waiting for the big names to sign so they can decide how to respond – even if we’re talking about teams like the Atlanta Braves who aren’t in that level of market themselves.

At this point of the off-season, teams have already talked a lot, and should have an idea on who’s available and for what price. The next question is about ‘who do you have to have?’ as Spring Training season approaches.

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