Alex Anthopoulos is a wanted man. In the past ten days, he stole Acuña for the next ten seasons by signing him to an 8-year, $100 million contract extension. Then committed grand theft by extending Ozzie Albies for seven years, $35 million with two club options. If the options for both Acuña and Albies are exercised, the Braves will have them for the next 19 years combined at a fabulously affordable rate of $169 million. That’s an AAV of just under $18 million for both of them.
Because of that, I’ve mentioned the Braves will have more money to spend – not only in the future but now. At Ozzie’s celebratory press conference for his new deal, Anthopoulos confirmed that notion, saying, “We definitely still have a lot of room for 2019 to add.”
Anthopoulos mentioned that money could be used in a potential trade or on the current free agent market. Now, it’s too early to speculate trades, but Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel remain on the market, and the suitors are not exactly lining up. They have to sign at some point, right?
It will be extremely odd for the Braves to go after Keuchel. He’s not your typical Cy Young Award winner. He’s not an ace. A month from now, the Braves could have nine (Yes, nine) viable starting pitching options. They do not need to add another starter unless it’s a significant upgrade over what they already have. Keuchel is not that.
Craig Kimbrel, on the other hand, would fit like a charm on this team. The bullpen has been much improved the past week, but the questions still outnumber the answers. Adding the best closer of the last decade has to be on Anthopoulos’s radar, and as I said previously, these free agents have to sign eventually.
The Braves’ approach has been steady since the 2018 season ended. Anthopoulos didn’t want to hand out long-term contracts and jeopardize financial flexibility. They want to sign their young core for the foreseeable future and then make the splashes as they see fit. I’d look for the Braves’ brass to continue to try and sign their young talent to extensions. But now that Atlanta has two of their cornerstones locked up for at least the next nine years, they can be a little more assertive with their money than they could have ten days ago.