In half an hour from now, the Braves are set to officially introduce Alex Anthopoulos as their next GM and to say that this was a lovely turn of fortune for the Braves would be an understatement. After all, it sure seemed like the franchise was waiting a bit too patiently to find a replacement for John Coppolella following the news of the yet-to-be-resolved international signing market scandal breaking and I’d imagine that once word came out that MLB wouldn’t announce the punishment until December, the front office decided that they needed to make a move.
The fact that Anthopoulos — a former MLB Executive of the Year who managed to turn the Toronto Blue Jays into a contender in a land where merely existing with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees means that it’s going to be an absolute scrap just to get third place, much less actually win the division and make it to an American League Championship Series under his leadership like they did in 2015 — was actually considered “Plan B” behind Dayton Moore and was also considered a candidate on equal footing with former Cubs GM Jim Hendry is actually amazing to think about and also proof that the Braves messed around and stumbled into a gold mine of a hire.
When you also throw in the fact that the “old guard” was still having a say in things, then it’s absolutely understandable to believe that the Braves may have backed into this. However, if you choose to believe that the “old guard” was actually in favor of Anthopoulos instead of Hendry, then maybe that’s a sign that this crew may have been stumbling, but they were still stumbling in the right direction.
The most important factor in this entire saga is the fact that there are multiple reports that the Braves are basically giving Anthopoulos the keys to the castle without having to worry about the previous monarchy having a say in things.
Heard John Hart will stay as #Braves pres of basbeall operations for now, but as much as counsel/figurehead and that Anthopoulos will have final decision making powers in baseball.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 13, 2017
Alex Anthopoulos will be in charge of all baseball decisions now for #Braves instead of John Hart, who's stripped of ultimate power.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 13, 2017
Isn’t that a sight for sore eyes? As savvy as John Coppolella was, there was always the lingering thought in the back of my mind that any move he made still had to go through the “proper channels” in order to get a particular move done. You never really knew for sure if the previous GM had the final say in things.
In fact, when the news initially broke that Coppolella stepped down, my initial thought was “Oh great, he must have made the wrong person angry and now they got him out of there.” Little did we know what was really going on, but the fact that that was a thought that went through my head seems to indicate that the power structure in the Braves front office couldn’t have been clear and linear.
That’s going to change now, as it appears that Alex Anthopoulos will be given complete control and full reign to do whatever he wants when it comes to the baseball operations here. That’s what I asked for near the end of this piece:
There should be a clear and concise idea of who’s running this franchise. If you take a look at every successful team in baseball right now, you know exactly who’s calling the shots up top and everybody knows their role and sticks to it. That is the type of stability that the Braves sorely need.
We don’t need a shadow group from the past calling the shots from the background and meddling when they aren’t needed. We don’t need to be hearing about any type of power struggles in the future. Let the people who have been hired to do the baseball work actually do the baseball work without any type of interference.
We now know that Alex Anthopoulos will be the one calling the shots. The buck will stop with him and hopefully he’ll be able to do the baseball work without any interference at all. Granted, this may have been the case with any of the candidates that they brought in — even Dayton Moore, who has the obvious ties with John Schuerholz, would have probably been given full reign to do what he wanted since I’d imagine that Schuerholz would have felt confident enough to just let his former assistant run things without interference.
Instead, they’ve ended up with a very good hire in the form of Alex Anthopoulos and Braves fans should be confident that he’ll be able to steer the organization in the right direction going forward. He’s not perfect and I’m sure that he’ll eventually make some deals involving some prized prospects that will surely be unpopular as the Braves continue to move on to the next phase of their rebuild, but there is still the confidence of knowing that the decisions will be made out of a place of core competency.
Earlier today, Eric made sure to note that we should all be patient since the investigation still has yet to be completed and the punishment has yet to be announced. But if you want to be excited, go right ahead and put a smile on.
By all indications, the punishment headed towards the Braves organization will be stiff, but at least we now know that the man in charge of weathering the storm will be a competent and solid GM who knows what he’s doing and is the clear man in charge. That’s all I wanted and while they may have stumbled into giving it to us, that’s what we’ve got now and that’s a good thing.