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Atlanta Braves offseason ahead according to Alex Anthopoulos

Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves’ GM Alex Anthopoulos said signing Josh Donaldson took a bite out of the money set aside to improve the team this offseason. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

The Atlanta Braves are looking for a top of the rotation starter, but the market’s pretty thin and prices are going up. That kind of market calls for strategic thinking, something Alex Anthopoulos does well.

In a busy trading/signing week, the Atlanta Braves made little news. Others did, so let’s start with a quick recap of the action so far.

Last Friday the Nationals added Yan Gomes from the Indians for a double-A outfielder, a relief pitcher of sorts, and the ubiquitous PTBNL.

After a weekend of “will they – won’t they,” Monday saw the Mets and Mariners finally consummate their deal with a news conference introducing Robinson Cano and Edwin Rodriguez.

Not to be outdone by an ex-agent, Mike Rizzo added Patrick Corbin to Max Scherzer and Steven Strasburg creating one of MLB’s best rotations since the Phillies could send Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Cliff Lee out on consecutive nights.

Later that day the Mets new GM suggested they were looking at A.J. Pollock. Tuesday reporters asked, “how will the Braves respond?”  Yesterday the Atlanta Braves GM gave a few hints.

Atlanta Braves plans according to the GM

Anthopoulos told reporters that the signing of Josh Donaldson and Brian McCann took a bite out of this year’s projected spending.

“We spent a good chunk of our offseason dollars on Donaldson and McCann, and we still have money to work with, but we have to be a little more selective now because we made those moves . . .”

Adding McCann’s name to that sentence borders on laughable; most one year $2M deals go unnoticed. The GM probably regrets saying that though he’ll never admit it. No one believes the McCann signing seriously damaged spending limits and O’Brien said as much. So let’s call this limiting expectation and move on.

The GM says Donaldson may bat second, not fourth. The Jays used Donaldson in the two-hole in 2015. He responded with a .297/.371/.568/.939 line, 154 wRC+, a .398 wOBA and 8.7 fWAR.

“If we end up starting off the game with Acuña, Donaldson and Freeman, the guy on the other side is not feeling good. But Snit will make that decision.”

Snitker might make the official decision, but the GM saying it publicly should tell you how he feels about it. It could also indicate the focus of the corner outfield search.

That also makes find a true cleanup hitter important; I really don’t want to see McCann and Tyler Flowers floundering in that spot.

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