Atlanta Braves Hot Stove Special Edition: Alex Anthopoulos To Be GM

Former Toronto GM Alex Anthropolous will be names as Braves GM. (Cole Burnston/Toronto Star)

Today is the start of the General Manager’s Meetings in Orlando, and not a moment too soon as it appears that the Braves will have an actual general manager.

Alex Anthopoulos is someone who seemingly checks several boxes for the Braves. Anthopoulos is an experienced general manager, having that role for the Toronto Blue Jays for six seasons. He also is young, only 40 years old. He has a strong analytical background, having overseen the development and expansion of the Blue Jays analytical department, first as assistant GM and then as GM. Finally, Anthopoulos is very well thought of throughout the baseball community, bringing instant credibility to a Braves front office in desperate need for some.

Anthopoulos will reportedly not only be the general manager but will have final say in all matters of baseball operations, essentially taking the role from current president of baseball operations John Hart, who will reportedly step back into an advisory role.

This comes on the heels of some unwanted news from Thursday.

So the Braves will start the offseason in transition, with a new general manager getting up to speed. At the same time, reports have been coming in that Hart himself may not walk away from the MLB investigation into Braves amateur signing practices cleanly. AJC Braves beat writer David O’Brien snuck this tidbit at the end of an update on the investigation.

While a report in late October quoted anonymous sources saying Hart had been essentially cleared by MLB, subsequent developments called that premise into question. A person close to the situation said at least one Braves employee who was with the team during the time of the alleged infractions informed MLB that Hart knew what Coppolella was doing on the international free-agent market and didn’t just ignore it, but approved of it.

 

Hart’s contract expires at the end of December. From the outside looking in, this seems like a situation where Hart is simply around to transition the Braves offseason plans to date over to Anthopoulos before hopefully quietly slipping away.

For a fuller analysis on Alex Anthopoulous’s hire, please check out our friend Tommy Poe’s analysis over at Walk Off Walk.

And now back to regularly scheduled programming, our Week-In-Review.

Coaching Changes Announced

The Braves did finally announce who would make up the Atlanta coaching staff under manager Brian Snitker. As expected, former Braves shortstop and Rockies manager Walt Weiss was announced as the bench coach. His former double play partner while with Colorado, Eric Young, Sr., will be the new first base coach.

The Braves also added a new coaching position. The role of catching coach will be filled by former major league catcher Sal Fasano. Fasano has minor league managerial experience, and has spent the last four seasons as first the Toronto minor league catching coordinator and then as the pitching coordinator.

Returning to the staff will be hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, assistant hitting coach Jose Castro, pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, third base coach Ron Washington, and bullpen coach Marty Reed.

Former coaches Terry Pendleton and Eddie Perez have reportedly been offered other positions in the organization, but have not accepted at this time.

Ender Inciarte Wins Second Gold Glove

It doesn’t matter if you prefer advanced fielding metrics, StatCast telemetry, the ‘ole eye test, or some mixture of it all… Ender Inciarte is a heck of an outfielder. Therefore it wasn’t much of a surprise that Inciarte won his second consecutive Gold Glove. Here’s some highlights from 2017.

Braves Continue to Mash in AFL

The Braves offensive contingent to the Arizona Fall League continue to do bad things to baseballs in the dry desert air.

Third baseman Austin Riley hit his sixth homer of the season on Saturday to break up a three-way tie atop the league leaderboard between he and fellow Braves farmhands Ronald Acuna and Alex Jackson. Not to be outdone, Acuna belted two more Saturday night in a nationally televised game on MLB Network.

In that same game, left-handed Max Fried started and looked dominant, giving up just one hit and a walk and facing the minimum thanks to a double play and a pick-off at first. Fried’s best pitch on the night was his fastball which showed tremendous life, exploding late on the hands of right-handed hitters, getting several called third strikes.

Braves Minor League Free Agents

In addition to the start of major league free agency last Monday, it was the start of minor league free agency. As detailed last week, the Braves moved to lock up three of their pending minor league free agents, outfielder Xavier Avery and pitchers Andres Santiago and Manny Barreda. Following is the list of Braves farmhands that became free agents last week:

Gwinnett:

Gwinnett RHP Kris Medlen pitches against Louisville. (Andy Harris/OFR)

RHP Enrique Burgos
RHP Rhiner Cruz
RHP Kris Medlen
RHP Danny Reynolds
3B/OF Kyle Kubitza
IF Sean Kazmar
IF Emerson Landoni
1B Matt Tuiasosopo

Mississippi:
1B Joey Meneses

Florida:
LHP Joe Rogers

The most recognizable name to most fans is of course right-handed pitcher Kris Medlen, who was a rotation staple for Atlanta from 2009-2013. Medlen has been working on coming back from shoulder issues and had mixed results for Gwinnett last season. By all accounts a strong veteran roll model, I hope the team finds a roll for him in 2018.

About Andy Harris 116 Articles

Andy Harris has been a baseball fan since seeing the Big Red Machine in 1978 and hardcore baseball fan since reading Bill James’s Historical Baseball Abstract in 1990. Andy moved to the Atlanta area in 1991, which turned out to be a pretty good year for the local team.

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