The Atlanta Braves put an unexpected wrap on the 2022 trade deadline Tuesday evening acquiring Angels reliever Raisel Iglesias in exchange for Jesse Chavez and Tucker Davidson. If you are interested in how late that deal came together, Chavez was seated at the press conference where Alex Anthopoulos was preparing to talk about Austin Riley’s contract extension and the trade deadline before being ushered out. Anthopoulos said the deal came together very late and he wanted to talk to Chavez which was difficult.
“It came together very late. We have had interest in him. We talked about him as a free agent and just sometimes these things happen late,” Anthopoulos said of acquiring Iglesias.
Iglesias adds another right-handed power arm to the bullpen. He’s an expensive addition that is owed $48 million over the next three seasons.
This was a much different deadline than the previous season where they were charged with filling holes on a roster that was below .500. This season’s club has a much more well rounded roster. In addition to Iglesias, the team filled in some holes. Ehire Adrianza was brought back from Washington in exchange for minor league outfielder Trey Harris. They also acquired outfielder Robbie Grossman from Detroit in exchange for minor league pitcher Kris Anglin. The biggest surprise might have been picking up starter Jake Odorizzi for reliever Will Smith who looked like a candidate to be dropped from the roster in the next few days.
“Obviously, we are going to be as competitive as we can year in and year out. Our payroll is growing, year in and year out, but you still have to be smart about putting a winning club on the field,” Anthopoulos said. “So making sure that we prioritize certain guys and make sure we have commitments that allows us to explore other trades, and we have a lot of things in the works. Iglesias is someone we had our eye on, and they came together really late, like two minutes to go.”
Anthopoulos said that the Braves explored many things, some of which would have heavily impacted their future payroll. However, they jumped at the chance to lock up Riley adding to a young core that is under longterm control.
“This deadline had a lot of implications on our payroll going forward. We knew the last few days that there were a lot of things on the table for us to explore,” Anthopoulos said. “So we explored the last five, six days, a lot of different things that had long term implications. Now doing Austin’s deal, took some of those things off the table entirely. So, but we were happy to sign him and it gave us direction.
“Obviously, my responsibilities as head of baseball operations is to put the best team out on the field and make the best deals that we can and take advantage of the windows we have right now,” Anthopoulos added. “At the same time, we try and manage the long term and keep a core together. So you just have to balance it.”
It was a big day for several National League clubs. The Padres made the biggest splash with the additions of Juan Soto and Josh Hader among others. The Mets and Phillies both filled holes as well. The Braves and Anthopoulos didn’t feel any pressure with what other teams were doing. He said that was something that he felt as a young GM, but now just focuses on what is best for his club.
“As a young GM, I made mistakes with that. Not that I chased it, but I’ve been part of winning the offseason, and making the splashy moves. I don’t believe at the time we did it for those reasons, but we were the kings of Las Vegas and great best deadline and so on,” Anthopoulos said of the deadline. “It didn’t result in anything. I don’t get caught up in it. I think it’s exciting as a fan. I love it too, following who’s going where and who’s getting traded, and so on. We just don’t, worry about it. We just do what we feel is best for the club.”
The Braves entered play Tuesday 3.5 games back of the Mets in the NL East standings. They have two games with the third place Phillies at home and then will head to New York for a big five-game series that includes a doubleheader Saturday. Did they do enough at the deadline? We will find out soon enough.