Coming into the trade deadline, it was clear what the Braves needed to add — pitching. Whether it bolstered the bullpen or the starting rotation, fans expected Alex Anthopoulos to add to one or both of those areas.
Atlanta’s GM did swing a few different trades, landing super utility piece Nicky Lopez, lefty specialist Brad hand, and a high-leverage guy in Pierce Johnson. Many fans were irate that he didn’t add a starter, but the price for what was available didn’t warrant AA overpaying.
What’s going to surprise fans is that the Braves pushed “pretty hard” to add a bat at the trade deadline. Anthopoulos told Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the team was looking to add a middle-of-the-order bat.
Q: You’ve been in baseball for a while. Is this year’s lineup as good as you’ve ever seen?
A: I never viewed it that way, not once. Candidly, at the deadline we were exploring all kinds of things – bullpen, rotation. At one point, we said, “Why don’t we try to add more offense?” We actually pushed pretty hard in trying to add a middle-of-the-order bat…”
The Braves offense was never a concern this season because of the depth. The only player who didn’t slump was Ronald Acuna Jr. Every other batter went through lulls, but the lineup was so deep that it overcame those rare downturns.
So, it’s really surprising that AA and company were looking to bolster that facet of the team. Left field has been hit or miss, so I can understand potentially upgrading that position. Eddie Rosario is among the streakiest hitters in baseball, and Kevin Pillar has never been a world-beater.
Prior to the trade deadline, Marcell Ozuna had begun his climb back to one of the most feared hitters in baseball, boasting a .785 OPS before August 1st. Perhaps Anthopoulos was trying to shore up that are, but thank goodness he didn’t because from August 1st until the end of the season, Ozuna has a 1.083 OPS.
It just goes to show that GMs operate in a much different capacity than fans. For Alex Anthopoulos, it’s all about value. Look no further than the Sean Murphy trade. The Braves already had one of the best catching duos in baseball with Travis d’Arnaud and William Contreras, but AA pulled the trigger because the value was right, and the club is better today for it.
\David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire