The Atlanta Braves are headed into the offseason much earlier than expected for the second straight season. After a regular season that saw them set plenty of offensive records, their offense fell silent at the absolute worse time which resulted in a 3-1 series loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in the Division Series. Following the loss in Game 4, Spencer Strider suggested that the Braves may need to find a new approach for the postseason after early exits in the last two seasons. Braves President and GM Alex Anthopoulos met with the media Friday and discussed the series loss and the season at large.
“We’re starting the process now. I’ve been doing a lot of stuff today, going through stuff,” Anthopoulos said. “I think like anything, once you don’t win the World Series, you review everything. I think you look at everything and examine everything. Bottom line is, we didn’t get to where we wanted to get to or expected to.”
There was much discussion Thursday night of the Phillies being “built for the postseason” or mell well equipped, but Anthopoulos doesn’t think there is necessarily one blueprint for success.
“I do think there’s certain things that are important in the postseason, but I don’t think that there’s a formula,” Anthopoulos said. “Because whether it’s Phillies or any other team, they’d be winning the World Series each year. There’s plenty of great teams, and you could talk about the Braves teams that either got to the World Series or other teams that got there and didn’t win and so on.”
“I think power is important. It’s hard to string together hits. We have a ton of power, it didn’t materialize,” he added. “That doesn’t mean we don’t still have a ton of power on the roster. But I think like anything else, you get to the postseason, just by nature of getting there, you have a chance to win a World Series.”
As disappointing as this loss was, it was still a tiny four-game sample in a six-month season. The Braves have a young core that is still getting better and is locked up for years to come. Emotions are still high from another Division Series loss, but Anthopoulos said that he doesn’t think that a major move of part of the team’s core is necessary.
I don’t see it that way,” Anthopoulos answered when asked if the Braves need to make a significant change. “I understand it’s two years in a row. It’s one coming off a World Series in ‘21. It was two years in a row in 2018 and 2019. 2020, we get to game seven of the LCS, but obviously didn’t get it done. Then in ‘21, we get it done. I just think the two years are very different. I just feel like, we had opportunities in those other games. You get the big hit, you come through, and you feel really good with the players that we have.”
“A lot of this group was part of that World Series winning team,” He added. “We did not have issues with runners in scoring position during the year. Over four games, we didn’t come through. To try to extrapolate from that more than what it is, I don’t think would be a responsible thing to do.”
When asked if he expected manager Brian Snitker to return, Anthopoulos said that they have already begun talking about offseason plans and Spring Training.
“I fully expect him, yeah. Obviously, we talked a lot after the game and we’re already talking about saying goodbye to players, see you in spring training and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, absolutely.”
For the second straight postseason, the Braves entered the Division Series with a number of pitching question marks. What looked like quality depth mid-summer deteriorated due to injury. A late injury to Charlie Morton kept him off the Division Series roster altogether. It is still unclear if Morton will return for his age-40 season and Max Fried heading into his final year of team control, a focus on the starting rotation this winter is needed.
“We had a great season, but there’s no doubt we were definitely banged up,” Anthopoulos said of the rotation. “In terms of how that would shape or influence our offseason, I’m gonna be very guarded with our potential offseason plans. We’re clearly not even there yet. This is less than 24 hours. But look, I think that that’s fair. Those are real things that did occur two years in a row and something we’re definitely gonna have to talk about.”