As the winter meetings wind down, a lot of Braves fans will be disappointed no splashes have been made, and it does not look like there will be one coming soon either. According to multiple reports, the Braves aren’t close to any free agent signings or trades in any of their three areas of concern.
#Braves aren't close to finalizing any trade or FA signing, Anthopouolos said. Have had many discussions in both areas, but nothing so far that's at price or term they're comfortable with. That goes for starting and relief pitching as well as outfielders, he said.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) December 11, 2018
However, we still have a better idea of what the plan is as this process moves froward. Anothopoulos has stressed two words since the beginning of the winter meetings: value, and most recently, patience.
Value is something this franchise is always going to have to be about. They have never had the payroll to keep up with major markets like New York, Boston and Chicago, and they certainly don’t have anywhere near that type of money now. One of the few moves that has actually taken place during these meetings was the signing of Andrew McCutchen by the Phillies to a three-year, $50 million deal. That shows you the type of value that is being placed on this free agent class right now.
McCutchen is still a worthy player, but there’s no denying he has been declining for a couple of years. The Braves viewed him as a possible option if his deal was in the one to two-year range, and probably, less than $16+ million annually. But with the Phillies willing to hand out such a deal, it shakes up the market quite a bit.
The same thing can be said regarding starting pitchers. So far, the prices have been quite inflated. Patrick Corbin, who has two All-Star appearances- five years apart (2013, 2018)- set the tone by inking a six-year deal worth close to $140 million. Then Eovaldi, a pitcher who has been wildly inconsistent over his career, re-signed with the Red Sox for four-years and $64 million. That’s just not a market Atlanta can compete in, so I wouldn’t get my hopes up for Dallas Keuchel either.
The Braves have to be realistic about what they can afford. They are not looking for aging players in search of long-term deals. Their young core may not be expensive now, but they will be in a couple years, and Atlanta doesn’t need 35-year old players making $15 million or more on their roster when that happens.
That’s where the patience comes in, and Braves fans might have to possess a lot of it. According to AA himself, it could be January until Atlanta makes their next move.
As Anthopoulos evaluates the current market, he thinks there’s a chance he’ll wait until January to make his next offseason acquisition https://t.co/GfpD6giPmV
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) December 12, 2018
For now, it appears the market is a little too hot for the Braves to handle. The value isn’t there, and Anthopoulos isn’t going to fall for some of the same mistakes he made in the past. Do to their abundance of quality young players, the window for success is as wide as it possibly could be in Atlanta. Anthopoulos is focused on ensuring it stays that for as long as possible.