Following the Braves division-clinching win over the Phillies last week, Alex Anthopoulos met with the media amid the celebration, where he talked about several topics. However, one thing stood out to me the most. When he spoke of the trade deadline and the acquisitions that made clinching the division possible, Anthopoulos mentioned how Liberty Media gave him quite the budget to work with, saying he could have acquired any target he desired.
Alex Anthopoulos said yesterday was truly the first time they started talking about Milwaukee: "I didn't even know we'd won 9 of our last 10, 5 in a row… We were so committed to this series. So after (Wed's win) was the first time we felt like we had a chance to get this done." pic.twitter.com/ULa8mqIkb0
— Kelly Price (@thekellyprice) October 1, 2021
Anthopoulos specifically mentions Braves Chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk, who told him before the trade deadline that things have changed. Thanks to fans being back in attendance, money was no longer tight. Anthopoulos added that it was more than enough to do what he wanted, calling it a “large amount of money.”
Liberty Media has notoriously been criticized for handcuffing the team with their budget, which hasn’t aligned with The Battery’s tremendous attendance numbers and revenue since the Braves moved to Cobb County. With that being said, payroll has gone up nearly every season, and from the sound of it, it looks as if it could reach a franchise high in 2022.
That sets up nicely with Freddie Freeman hitting free agency this offseason. The face of the Braves franchise is wrapping up the final games of his current contract and will be courted by pretty much every team that can afford him this winter. That isn’t exactly music to the ears of Braves Country. However, if payroll is expected to jump — even by just a few million — the Braves should have plenty of cash to lock up Freeman for the foreseeable future. I have difficulty believing they would have already spent nearly $30 million on Charlie Morton and Travis d’Arnaud if they didn’t feel like they would have the funds to bring back Freeman.