Alex Anthopoulos on free agents not taking hometown discounts

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Braves Country has said goodbye to two All-Star members of the 2021 World Series teams in back-to-back offseasons. Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson both grew up within the organization — to different degrees — and were arguably two of the most valuable pieces of that championship team. And fans have seen them sign lucrative deals elsewhere, sparking some fans to question how much they truly loved the organization, which is an absurd prerogative to me. On Jon Heyman’s podcast, Alex Anthpolous addressed these situations in generalities, not directly.

 

“When you look at the total dollars, we’ve just been short. How do you begrudge anybody, it’s one thing to leave a little bit of money on the table, it’s completely something else to leave a large amount of money on the table. And no one owes the Atlanta Braves anything when it comes to that. It just comes down to being competitive and working with what we have.”

He’s as buttoned-up as an executive comes, giving perfect PC answers. Anthopoulos would go on to say that these players, in general, are getting amazing deals that they deserve and the Braves’ approach is to spread the money around. He would bring up Josh Donaldson’s free agency, which resulted in him signing a more lucrative deal with the Twins than what the Braves offered. But AA didn’t need to go further.

It’s very clear the Braves didn’t value Dansby Swanson as much as some other clubs, especially the Cubs. The Braves offered what they thought was fair without being disrespectful and wouldn’t budge, but the notion either side owes the other anything, as many fans believe, is ridiculous.

AA shouldn’t overpay for what he thinks Swanson is worth because he ‘owes’ him for what he did for the organization. And Swanson shouldn’t take a sweetheart deal and leave around $70 million on the table because he ‘owes’ it to the Braves. The relationship had run its course. There’s no reason to blame either side at this point.

And though Freddie Freeman’s negotiations were quite different, the same principles apply. AA offered what he deemed in the best interest of the club but was fair to Freeman; it just didn’t work out. Regardless of how upset you are about how the situation unfolded, you cannot fault either side for doing what was best for them at the time, even if it was the wrong decision in hindsight.

Photo: David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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