Atlanta Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos recently sat down with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley to discuss the team’s first half. Part 1 of the interview went up on Sunday and it is a good read touching on subjects such as this past offseason, his feelings on rental players and whether or not he is under pressure as the team’s GM so click through and give the whole interview a read.
Another topic that was discussed was a recent MLB.com report that suggested the Braves were close to their maximum on money this year and that would impact what they were able to do at the trade deadline. Anthopoulos acknowledged seeing that report and said they were false.
I’ve seen those reports as well. I would say that’s not accurate right now. This is something I learned from my time in Toronto. In 2014, we were in it at the trade deadline, and we had maxed out our payroll in the offseason and really tied our hands. Going into 2015, by design we saved some money on the side in the offseason.
So the team held back a little money coming into the season to allow itself room for some maneuvering during the season. However, the Braves’ good start to the season has led to an increase in revenues and that could play a part as well.
So we saved some money and we have that available, and now – as the byproduct of the results – attendance is up, everything is up, the organization is doing much better. I deal with (Braves chairman) Terry McGuirk when it comes to this stuff. We’ve had conversations about it. We have money beyond what we’ve saved because of how well the club has done. I’ve been given very specific instructions, and I can shop in any aisle. I can at least have a conversation. I can tell you right now in all the discussions and all the players we’ve discussed, there’s no single player that we can’t afford.
Now given Anthopoulos’ comments on rental players, fans shouldn’t misconstrue that into thinking about a guy like Machado. The Braves could be among the suitors for Machado but that scenario wouldn’t require them to spend prospect capital.
Where ultimately we’d have an (in-house) discussion is if we’re looking at adding three or four big-league guys at big contracts. That’s when maybe the numbers start to add up and we’d have to evaluate it. But one or two guys right now would not be a problem at all.
So there you have it. Anthopoulos says that the team budget won’t prevent him from making additions to the team if they make sense and that should set it up to be a really interesting trade deadline.