Since taking over as Braves general manager, Alex Anthopoulos has had a tendency to bring in players he has worked with along his journey. It all started with the trade that sent Matt Kemp to L.A. and brought back Brandon McCarthy, Charlie Culberson, and long-term financial relief.
This carried on when he took a flier on Jose Bautista, who was a star in his days as Toronto Blue Jays general manager. He has followed this up with a one-year pact for star third baseman Josh Donaldson, Bautista’s teammate in Toronto.
It appears that Anthopoulos has a comfort level bringing in former players. Could this be the case with free agent starter J.A. Happ?
Braves are an under the radar team on J.A. Happ. Uncertain of their chances but they appear to be still in a field that’s been narrowed from a dozen or more.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 10, 2018
Happ may not be the ace pitcher that could take the Braves to the next level. However, he is a very solid, and more importantly, consistent starter who would add stability to the pitching rotation, much like Anibal Sanchez did last season.
Happ won 17 games last season, and his ERA has not eclipsed 4 since 2014. Add into account that his recent statistics have mostly been compiled in the ever-so-tough AL East, and it makes it that much more impressive.
If the Braves do sign a free agent starter, it is unlikely they will want a long-term pact. The Braves may be outbid for Happ’s services, but one would think the 36-year old will not be able to fetch too many years.
Could AA get nostalgic again with this signing? Perhaps we will see during this week’s winter meetings.