GM on Braves trade deadline: “Alex (Anthopoulos) is always a buyer”

Alex Anthopoulos trade deadline

With Ronald Acuna Jr.’s season-ending injury, the overwhelming expectation is for the Braves to be active at this year’s trade deadline.

I expect Atlanta to be in the market for an outfielder, but it’s far too early in the summer to write anything in ink. Pitching is always a need because injuries and struggles are inevitable. If another starter goes down, that priority may impact Alex Anthopoulos’ plans. Hell, if Adam Duvall and Jarred Kelenic prove worthy of starting every game, that may allow Anthopoulos to focus more heavily on other needs.

There are so many developments that could force AA to adjust his approach to the trade deadline, but one thing is certain, the Braves GM will be ‘wheelin’-and-dealin’ as Jeff Passan notes.

“When asked whether the Braves should be buyers after Ronald Acuna Jr.’s season-ending ACL tear and the team’s not-quite-up-to-snuff start, one GM chuckled and said: ‘Alex is always a buyer,'” Passan said about an anonymous GM.

Despite the Acuna injury and offensive struggles, this lineup is fully capable, as currently constructed, of contributing towards a World Series. That’s how good this pitching staff for Atlanta is right now. That’s not how its foes see it though.

“… opposing teams see Atlanta’s biggest need on the mound — even after losing the reigning NL MVP. The bats are bound to come around, and Anthopoulos will look for complementary pieces there,” Passan continued. “Meanwhile, executives say, Chris Sale and Reynaldo Lopez are bound for regression. Charlie Morton is 40 years old. And Spencer Strider’s season-ending Tommy John surgery left Atlanta in a spot that demands more depth.”

There’s reason to believe regression could be coming for Reynaldo Lopez, but I’m not quite sure I see anything slowing Chris Sale down unless it’s an injury.

Sale was just named the NL Pitcher of the Month, thanks to a perfect 5-0 record with a 0.56 ERA. As far as regression, his NL-leading 2.49 FIP suggests his 3.06 ERA isn’t a fluke and should be even lower. Lopez certainly won’t maintain his 1.73 ERA, but his 2.72 FIP suggests that regression won’t be that severe.

That’s not to say pitching won’t be a priority for the Braves at the trade deadline because a lot can change over the next two months or so. Alex Anthopoulos will be working the phones to improve the roster, even if it’s just 1% better.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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