G.M. Alex Anthopoulos hates you, that’s why he’s laughing.
Tommy Milone becomes the sole acquisiton for the braves at the deadline, promptly gives up 7 runs
Braves fans need an intervention. This destructive relationship we have with the Trade Deadline is not healthy. Every year we build up our hopes with rumors of front line names like Clevinger and Lynn, and every year we are shocked and appalled to find names like Gausman and Milone added to our roster instead. From the outside looking in we must look pitiable. How can we possibly think that this time will be different? Maybe we didn’t wish hard enough. Maybe we weren’t wearing enough Braves swag today. Maybe if we had just been better fans, this wouldn’t keep happening, right?
I get it. The Braves have an obvious need for starting pitching, which is ironic since all of the talk about our farm system for the last 4 years has been the depth of our pitching, and the one guy we managed to trade for almost lost a 10 run lead in less than 3 innings in his first start. Right now the rotation comes down to a solid starter in Max Fried, a rookie with 1 whole start, 6 innings total, at the major league level, two relievers who can’t get through the order twice, and Tommy Milone. With a farm system that ranks among the best in baseball there seems to be no better team positioned to address this glaring hole in their roster than the Braves. Yet here we are, just after 4PM on Trade Deadline deal, listening to Alex Anthopoulos explain to Braves fans why recently DFA’d Mike Foltynewicz and injury-riddled Cole Hamels are going to make us forget about not making a deal.
The reality is, Braves fans, that our GM is risk averse. This is a great trait to have in a GM most of the time, and it keeps your team from reaching when the obvious play is to stand pat. In a 60 game sprint to the post season, even if you make all the right moves it can still leave you on the outside looking in as teams that were just simply more fortunate with injuries and streaky performance pass you by. Sure, some of the proposed moves would have helped us in 2021, but the prospect cost would be calculated to include a post season run this year. The surplus talent going back in trade could have been pieces we use in the offseason to affect this team for more than one season. Essentially, why go out of your way to win this silly season?
I’m honestly not opposed to this logic, actually, though I doubt it will be easy to convince you of it. In a perfect world, rather than risk making a bad trade with pieces that could be better used either on the roster or in trade in the offseason, our G.M. would have gone the other direction and chosen to be a targeted seller at this year’s trade deadline. Use assets like Ozuna, Greene, Melancon, Duvall, and even Flowers to help restock the lower levels of our farm system left bare by the ban on international players the Braves have been laboring under since John Coppolella. Doing nothing might not have been the best use of the trade deadline here, but I certainly appreciate and understand the desire to preserve the trade capital for a time when it can be better leveraged to our benefit.
So instead we look forward to a rejuvenated Mike Foltynewicz, who Anthopoulos told us today had put on weight and was throwing in the mid 90’s again. We look with hope for the coming of Cole Hamels, currently throwing bullpens with no definite time table for being activated. We wait patiently for the return of Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuña, Jr., the latter of which was pulled out of Sunday’s game with hamstring tightness and is being held out pending more tests. And we trust that our G.M is not somewhere laughing at us, wondering how foolish we must really be to have thought that this was the year he pushed all the chips to the center of the table. Maybe next year, though…