Atlanta Braves GM: Team not locked in on contract length or dollars
By Fred Owens
Atlanta Braves fans know that the team doesn’t like contracts over five years or $200M, but is that true, are bigger deals on the horizon?
Atlanta Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos told SNY’s Andy Martino that the perception the Braves are okay with long, high-dollar extensions for homegrown players, but won’t go big on a free agent, isn’t true.
In the video, Martino said the Mets see the Braves and the Dodgers as their main rivals for Jacob deGrom, and, in a round-about way, asked if it was possible.
Knowing he couldn’t speak the name without getting the, I can’t talk about specific free agents answer; instead, he asked if the shorter lower cost, deal for free agents tag was accurate.
"“I think that’s too general . . . If we think something makes sense for the organization, we do it. We’ve done all kinds of things."
Anthopoulos cited the 10-year, $200M+ contract for Austin Riley as proof. Martino accepted that and concluded by saying:
"I’m no longer going to say, “The Braves don’t really go big on free agent pitching.”"
So, we’ve been wrong, and the Braves will give a free agent extra years and a high-dollar contract? Should we go after deGrom? Eh, maybe, but that’s not what our GM said.
Atlanta Braves spin translator engaged.
The Braves GM shot down the perception the Braves only extend players grown in the organization by quoting the contract of a player developed in the organization.
"“We had never done a $200 million contract. We did it with Austin Riley. We’ve never done a 10-year deal. We did it with Austin Riley. But that wasn’t like there was some rule. It just worked out that way."
It’s true the Braves gave Matt Olson an eight-year extension, but that only shows the team will offer more years to a young player than to a player a couple of years older.
I don’t believe for one minute, that the Braves are in on deGrom or Verlander and Anthopoulos said as much.
"“We’ve got four guys who basically have jobs in that rotation. . . The fifth spot is 9between( [Mike] Soroka, Ian Anderson, Kyle Muller, Bryce Elder, Kolby Allard and so on . . . unless we acquire somebody else, those guys will all be competing for the five spot.”"
Nobody believes Allard is in the running, but he traded for him and had to spin it positively. I wouldn’t be surprised if Allard is nontendered or flipped to another team.
After settling shortstop, the Braves will patch the hole in left with a player who provides better than the .238/285/.431/.716 provided at that position this year
The best ability is availability
Logically following that GM’s idea that they will offer a longer, bigger deal if it’s right for the team, the Braves could offer Carlos Correa an eight-year, $216M deal because he’s younger than Swanson. It’s not impossible, but Olson and Correa aren’t the same kind of player.
Since 2018 Matt Olson’s played 667 games. Ignoring the 2020 season when he played all 60 games, that’s 152 games a year. In the same span, Correa played 527 games, and ignoring the 25 games he played in 2020, he averaged 126 games a season. Who plays SS the other 22% of the year?
They might also trade for Adames and offer him that deal; who knows?
That’s a wrap
Roster Resource shows the Atlanta Braves with a 40-man payroll of $196M and a CBT payroll of $228M, just $5M below the first CBT threshold.
Raise your hand if you believed in 2018 that the Braves would be ducking the CBT in 2022. It’s amazing what steady postseason play can do for revenue. It also pushes your draft pick down to the equivalent of a second-round selection, and signing free agents with a qualifying offer attached costs CBT payers international signing money.
At least we know that the Braves are, in theory, willing to give long, expensive contracts to free agents. Don’t we?