The Braves have swung blockbuster trades in back-to-back offseasons, and some would say Alex Anthopoulos fleeced the Athletics.
Two years ago, future Hall of Famer Freddie Freeman walked in free agency, prompting AA to acquire Atlanta native Matt Olson from the A’s. Oakland received Shea Langeliers, Cristian Pache, Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes.
Langeliers accrued 1.2 bWAR in 2023, providing solid defense behind the dish and slightly below average offense. He ended up with a 92 OPS+, which might be below league average but is decent for the catcher position. Pache flamed out quickly in Oakland and ended up in Philadelphia while Cusick is currently in AA, where he has struggled since leaving the Braves. Estes made his MLB debut but posted a 7.20 ERA over 10 innings.
Then, the following offseason, the Braves swung another blockbuster deal for Sean Murphy in a three-team trade. Somehow, the A’s didn’t even get the second best player in the deal.
OF Esteury Ruiz from Brewers (club’s No. 8-ranked prospect)
C Manny Piña from Braves
LHP Kyle Muller from Braves (club’s No. 1-ranked prospect)
RHP Freddy Tarnok from Braves (club’s No. 6-ranked prospect)
RHP Royber Salinas from Braves (club’s No. 18-ranked prospect)
C Sean Murphy from A’s
C William Contreras from Braves
RHP Joel Payamps from A’s
RHP Justin Yeager from Braves
To say these trades didn’t work out for the Athletics would be an understatement. General Manager David Forst might want to never take a phone call from Atlanta’s GM Alex Anthopoulos.
“I told Alex to lose my number,” Forst joked, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Braves have certainly got the best of Forst and A’s in recent years. It’s like Atlanta’s AAAA club. GMs are human, so they make deals with people they like. Good trades would ideally benefit both parties, which is what Anthopoulos probably wants for his counterpart, but that hasn’t been the case.
For Braves fans, they couldn’t be happier with Matt Olson and Sean Murphy. The former led baseball in home runs and RBIs while simultaneously breaking the franchise record for long balls. Taking over for a legend like Freddie Freeman isn’t easy, but he’s done so gracefully.
Murphy had an MVP-caliber first half of the season en route to an All-Star appearance. Though he faltered in the second half, the Braves have one of the best backstops in the league for the rest of the decade.
The Braves and Anthopoulos have to love how they came out of these two deals.