When Jon Heyman reported the Braves had “checked in” on Anthony Rendon, it almost came off as laughable. We know Heyman’s tight with Boras, and half of his tweets are dedicated to stirring the market for his clients. We are also well aware of the Braves hesitancy to dole out even a four-year contract, let alone a mega-deal for a superstar that would take him into his late 30s. So any rumors that suggested Atlanta was in on Rendon should be taken with a grain of salt. Alex Anthopoulos was probably just doing his due diligence.
The Braves have never been an organization that was willing to pony up 200+ mil for one player, especially since they’ve been under the control of Liberty Media. However, Heyman isn’t the only insider reporting the Braves have been in on a couple of stars that have gaudy contracts attached to them.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan, on the Ryen Russilo podcast, confirmed Heyman’s original report that Atlanta checked in on Anthony Rendon. He also added the Braves have at least discussed a trade with the Rockies for Nolan Arenado, who still has seven years and $234 million remaining on his contract with the Rockies. Here’s what Passan had to say when Russilo prodded him with a question about what happens next with Kris Bryant.
“I think he (Bryant) gets traded,” Passan said. “Atlanta made a run at Anthony Rendon. Atlanta is discussing Nolan Arenado, and I think they feel like the chances with Arenado aren’t all that great.”
The conversation then took a one-way turn and never came back to the Braves. However, this kind of news has to be music to the ears of the fan base. For years, we’ve been deprived of any type of substantial, long-term free-agent additions. And this time last year, MLB insiders would have laughed in your face had you mentioned Atlanta in the same breath as Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, but things appear to be changing.
The Braves have already doled out nearly $100 million this offseason and have a clear intention of spending more, which would put them way over their Opening Day payroll from a season ago. They remain in on Josh Donaldson, though rumors suggest he could receive a four-year deal. But even if they don’t re-sign the Bringer of Rain, these reports from Heyman and now Passan should put Braves Country at ease. Anthopoulos is looking for the best deal possible, and it does not appear his financial restrictions are stringent. This could be the offseason that Atlanta makes the splash the fan base has been dying for.