During Alex Anthopoulos’ recent interview with Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, he revealed several interesting tidbits. Among them was the Braves’ ability to make moves at the trade deadline. After another heartbreaking loss that included a familiar bullpen meltdown, Atlanta is now 6.5 games back of the first-place Mets. Still, there’s reason to believe this team has too much talent to continue playing this poorly, especially if they can add a couple of more pieces.
Some of those pieces will come internally. It’s believed that Travis d’Arnaud, Huascar Ynoa, and even Mike Soroka could be back by August. Adding those three by themselves would make the Braves the biggest winners at the trade deadline without even having to part ways with any prospects. However, if Atlanta really wants to chase down New York, they probably have to get help sooner than that. Anthopoulos acknowledged that the team now has the financial flexibility to add to the club — via Schultz’s piece — but can they find help soon enough?
Things have definitely turned for the better in Georgia and across ballparks. You’ve seen attendance. So we have the resources to add payroll to the club. The outlook is much different than it was in the offseason when there was a lot of uncertainty. We started the year, I think, at 25 percent capacity and we moved up incrementally and we’re up to 100 percent. So we’re absolutely in a position and I’ve been told that as well, that we can add payroll at the trade deadline.
Unfortunately, trades rarely come to fruition before July, which is still a couple of weeks away. By then, the Braves could be close to ten games back based on the way things are trending. These next fifteen days or so may very well decide whether they are buyers or sellers leading up to the deadline.
Atlanta wraps up their season series with the Red Sox today before beginning a four-game set with a very talented Cardinals club. They then play the Mets in seven of their next eleven games. If they can’t stay within arm’s length over the next two-plus weeks, I’m unsure how they can justify giving up pieces of their future to win now. That’s crazy to even think about, considering the expectations this team had coming into the season. But if they don’t stay afloat between now and July, it’s time for Anthopoulos to start thinking about selling rather than buying.