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the Market Forces are strong with these

TORONTO, CANADA – JANUARY 8: R.A. Dickey #43 (L) of the Toronto Blue Jays is introduced at a press conference by general manager Alex Anthopoulos at Rogers Centre on January 8, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

It’s now 1 week before the Winter Meetings start and it looks possible that the simmering free agent market could start to pop before then.

The Atlanta Braves are telling anyone who will listen that they still have 2 major needs for this off-season… a front-end starter, a back-end reliever, and an outfielder.  In the meantime, of course, a 4th “need” was filled: power-hitting third baseman, so maybe not all things are completely transparent?

Yesterday, the Braves held one of their fairly common Q&A sessions with A-List members.  Happily, at least one of them – Jon Howard – was willing to live-tweet some of that session for his twitter followers, and thus we’ll share his highlights with you.

Here’s a couple of the more interesting tidbits that he gleaned from Alex Anthopoulos:

Okay, that first tweet makes perfectly good sense:  while Anthopoulos might be willing to trade X number of premium prospects, there had better be something in it for the Braves – namely ‘control’.

When you trade away a player prospect like a Kyle Wright or Ian Anderson, you’re anticipating having those players in the majors at some point with 6 seasons of team control.

If you’re looking at 2 or 3 of them being involved in a big trade… which is clearly what would have to be involved to even consider that kind of return… then that’s the potential of 12-to-18 major league seasons being involved.

Now that assumes, of course, that these prospects will develop into fully contributing members of a major league squad, and that is a relatively rare thing.  But there’s the balance – measuring what you think you’re getting in terms of (probably) proven talent vs. the potential that elite prospects are expected to provide.

This is why 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 deals are not uncommon.  But this tweet still tells us something of Anthopoulos’ approach in making big dealshe’ll spend the capital to make it happen, so long as there isn’t a ‘rental’ contract involved.

Just based on that little snippet, I’d hazard to suggest that you might put a rule-of-thumb that he might be willing to part with 1 higher-upside prospects for 2 years of control; 2 for 3 years, and… but 3?

Well, for 3 prospects, that had better be a pretty special player that would be coming back.  But it’s interesting for him to say that.

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