The Atlanta Braves may be the best team in baseball in locking up their talent for the long haul. Hell, most of the guys in their lineup are operating on some kind of long-term extension at the moment. However, the Braves may have made their most important contract extension yet yesterday when it was revealed that the team gave president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos an extension through the 2031 season.
When we think of front office executives these days, it is very often on a year-to-year basis. One year they make some key moves and fans love them, but that goodwill often doesn't last especially if the team struggles and fans start calling for their heads. Every single season, baseball sees a shuffle in front offices with executives getting fired, moving around, and changing responsibilities.
In this "what have you done for me lately" era, it is absolutely remarkable what AA has accomplished. Not only is he adept at making the sort of short-term fixes to patch roster holes on the fly, but he has made the Braves the model for long-term success thanks to the player development department he has helped build and his ability to lock up the right guys on contracts that aren't albatrosses around the Braves' necks.
Now that Anthopoulos is set to run the Braves' front office for the foreseeable future, let's take a look at the moves, or at least the categories of moves, that AA has made that made him arguably the most impactful front office executive in baseball and one of the best Braves executives of all-time.
Anthopoulos' Braves trades have been a master class (for the most part)
For a few years to start his tenure, the biggest gripe that Braves fans had was that Anthopoulos had not been able to swing a big trade for an impact player. Given the amount of talent the Braves had in their farm system at the time that was just sitting there waiting to be used for SOMETHING, that criticism was honestly pretty fair.
That narrative began to change relatively quickly, however. Anthopoulos' series of moves at the 2019 trade deadline to bolster the Braves bullpen with guys like Mark Melancon, Chris Martin, and Shane Greene were widely lauded and Atlanta probably doesn't win the World Series in 2021 (or even make the playoffs) without AA's trade deadline moves that year that included Jorge Soler, Joc Pederson, and Eddie Rosario.
The hits did not stop there. His trade for Matt Olson after Freddie Freeman and his agent overplayed their hand was a lesson that Anthopoulos was not a guy to mess around with. He pillaged the Athletics again the following offseason to add Sean Murphy to be their long-term catcher. Both deals were for guys at or near the top of the league at their position and he somehow didn't give up any players that the team truly regrets beyond MAYBE William Contreras.
Not every move has worked out swimmingly (the Richard Rodriguez deal was a dud, for example) and more recent deals are too fresh to judge, but Anthopoulos' hit rate on the trades he has made has earned him the benefit of the doubt.