While Major League Baseball’s offseason continues to roll on at a slow pace, the Atlanta Braves have been one of the more active teams overall remaking their bullpen with multiple moves and adding outfielder Jarred Kelenic in a trade with the Seattle Mariners. Most people wouldn’t realize that though because the Braves haven’t made that splashy move that generate big headlines like the Dodgers have with the signing of Shohei Ohtani and the trade for Tyler Glasnow.
That doesn’t mean the Braves had that much work to do in the first place. Adding another starter to the mix would be a plus, but the roster is pretty much set with the exception of filling out the bench. Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos discussed the offseason this week with Jeff Schultz for The Athletic and confirmed that the team pursued Aaron Nola and another starter that was moved in trade that would have been a prospect laden deal.
We pursued Aaron Nola (who re-signed with the Phillies). Beyond that, we’ve engaged clubs and inquired on trades. The starters who have been moved, and one specifically, we didn’t need to trade core players off our roster. It would’ve been a prospect-based deal and we had the prospects to do it and we elected not to. Obviously, we’ll find out three, four, five years from now if that was the right call. It’s similar to when guys like Spencer Strider and Michael Harris were prospects and we elected to hold those guys as well, and we’re glad that we did. It’s tough to judge because you’re trying to project out what guys will be. So far, I’ve elected to say no.
The article says that Anthopoulos was engaged in discussions with the Rays about Glasnow, but Anthopoulos doesn’t name names with this quote. If that is the potential trade that is being talked about, Tampa would have likely asked for one of AJ Smith-Shawver or Hurston Waldrep in a potential deal. Anthopoulos mentions holding on to Spencer Strider and Michael Harris who later became a significant part of the team’s core.
Later in the interview, Anthopoulos was asked about the state of the rotation heading into 2024, but also beyond. Max Fried is in his final year before free agency while Charlie Morton is back for another season but just turned 40.
Anthopoulos pointed out the volatility of the rotation over the last few years with injuries to Mike Soroka, Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright. He also notes Smith-Shawver’s ceiling and mentions their excitement for 2023 draft pick Hurston Waldrep. Both of which could factor heavily into the 2025 rotation and beyond.
I still think Atlanta needs to add a starter, even if it is a back of the rotation guy. Reynaldo Lopez might fill that need, but he has spent the last several seasons as a reliever. Anthopoulos has shown the last two offseasons that he isn’t afraid to move prospects, but the Braves appear to be looking for more team control in a deal to part ways with either of Smith-Shawver or Waldrep which makes sense.
The whole interview is a worth a read if you are a subscriber to The Athletic, so be sure and check that out.