The Atlanta Braves made a splash early this offseason with the additions of Josh Donaldson and Brian McCann but have been pretty quiet since. They are still in search of an outfielder for the upcoming season but have yet to pull the trigger on a trade or a free agent signing to replace Nick Markakis.
Recently the team was linked to free agent A.J. Pollock who is the best outfielder currently available not named Bryce Harper. However, Atlanta has been reluctant to this point to sign a free agent that would require them to lose their third overall choice in the 2019 MLB Draft according to a report by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
The reason for that reluctance per Rosenthal is the sanctions that were placed on the club by Major League Baseball due to transgressions on the international market under former GM John Coppolella. The team lost 13 prospects and forfeited its third round choice in the 2018 draft.
Atlanta’s system is still in good shape with a number of prospects knocking on the major league door but those sanctions have hurt the system’s depth overall at the lower levels. That is something that the franchise will likely feel for several years to come.
Rosenthal reports that the Braves are not out on Pollock but losing the draft pick is something that is weighing on GM Alex Anthopoulos’ mind and something that is no doubt factoring into the decision.