Alex Anthopoulos' GM history pre-Braves shows he might go all in at 2024 trade deadline

Anthopoulos' history with big trade deadlines may come into play for the Braves in 2024.

Atlanta Braves v Toronto Blue Jays
Atlanta Braves v Toronto Blue Jays / Tom Szczerbowski/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves found themselves in a tough position this season, losing two superstar players and struggling to find consistency offensively. Luckily, the starting rotation and bullpen have been bright spots and gave fans something to look forward to.

Things started rough for Max Fried but now that he's settled in, the Braves have a nice top three with Fried, Reynaldo Lopez, and Chris Sale. Charlie Morton has been widely inconsistent and the fifth spot in the rotation just now found some stability with rookie Spencer Schwellenbach.

The offense has emerged over the last month and looks like the team fans expected. However, they still suffer from inconsistency as highlighted by their recent road trip. Things started great as the team won two out of three games against the Yankees but then proceeded to finish the road trip 1-4. Two of those losses came in St. Louis and one against the Chicago White Sox, despite an impressive 11-strikeout performance by Chris Sale.

All of this leaves Braves GM, Alex Anthopoulos in a position where he has to address some things at the 2024 MLB trade deadline. The team doesn't have a lot of needs, however, there are a couple of problem areas he will focus on.

Alex Anthopoulos' GM history pre-Braves shows he might go all out at 2024 trade deadline

The main two problem areas that Anthopoulos will want to focus on is with a corner outfielder and shortstop. Adam Duvall was brought over to be a platoon mate with Jarred Kelenic but Duvall was forced into an everyday role when Michael Harris II went down with an injury.

Kelenic has flourished in the leadoff role and has played well in center field. Duvall has been good defensively but his stats against right-handed pitching are absolutely putrid. He has a slash line of .091/.126/.111 over 103 plate appearances against RHP. To see the stark contrast between facing RHP and LHP, all one needs to do is look at Duvall's OPS which is a measly .237 versus lefties and .868 versus right-handers.

The team must look for a replacement or a lefty bat to platoon with him for the remainder of the season. It doesn't look like that is going to improve any time soon. Similarly, the team is dealing with a similar situation from shortstop Orlando Arcia.

Arcia's defense has kept him on the field but that has taken a slight downturn. However, it's still good with a 4 OAA on the season. It's hard to justify keeping him in the lineup with a .213/.244/.343 slash line including six homers, 22 RBI, 11 walks, and 61 strikeouts. He's below average in almost every offensive category.

These have become two major problem areas for Atlanta and they'll also be on the lookout for bullpen help as you can never have enough depth. While Schwellenbach has been pitching well, his lack of experience will have the Braves considering trade options for a more experienced back-end starter.

Alex Anthopoulos will certainly do his best to address these needs without breaking the bank. Atlanta is eight games behind the Phillies for the division lead and has the team in a similar position to the 2021 season. The Braves were trailing the Mets that season and the team lost Acuna for the season. AA added four outfielders at the deadline and the team went on to win the division and the World Series.

AA didn't have to go all in that season to improve the team but he pushed all the right buttons to get the team what they needed. He will do a great job addressing needs this season but the team is in a position where his past decisions show going all in might be the right decision.

Going "all in" is a tough thing to do because teams have to weigh the cost of their decisions. AA knows this all too well as in 2015 with the Blue Jays, he acquired shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, left-hander David Price, outfielder Ben Revere, and reliever Mark Lowe in separate trades.

The main issue is that the Jays went all in and were bounced in the ALCS that season and it was the moves AA didn't make that hurt them. Toronto passed on Johnny Cueto who was traded to the Royals and they didn't acquire Ben Zobrist who remained with Kansas City. Both players helped the Royals beat the Blue Jays and KC went on to win the World Series.

It goes to show that not making a move has just as great of an impact as making one and Alex unfortunately finds himself in that position again with the 2024 Atlanta Braves.

The issue is Arcia on a favorable contract which is ideal for the budget but it would be unwise to ignore his struggles at the plate. There aren't any internally experienced options to replace him so a trade for a shortstop like Bo Bichette, Paul DeJong, or Luis Rengifo might be on the table.

Starting pitching-wise, Anthopoulos doesn't need to target an elite arm like the Jays did for David Price. The team only needs an experienced end-of-the-rotation arm like Eric Fedde, Tyler Anderson, or Garrett Crochet.

Fedde makes the most sense as he is affordable at $7.5 million and is signed through 2025. He would solve Atlanta's need for starting pitching in the offseason with Charlie Morton and Max Fried potentially exiting at the season's end. Making a move for a controllable starter through the next couple of years is important for the team to focus on.

As for outfield options, the team may not make a trade for anyone as they have internal options. However, if they choose to look outside, available options include Luis Robert Jr., Brent Rooker, Miguel Andujar, Taylor Ward, Randy Arozarena, Kevin Pillar, and JJ Bleday.

It shouldn't be too hard to fill their outfield need should they choose to. However, Atlanta has Ramon Laureano, Brian Anderson, and Forrest Wall available to fill that need. The team will also get Michael Harris II back at some point so they could forego adding a corner outfielder.

Those are three major positions for Alex Anthopoulos and the Braves to focus on and going "all in" might be the right thing to do if the team wants to make it to their goal of winning a World Series title. However, they'll be wary of the future since voids are being created this offseason.

The 2024 Braves need something to get them going in the right direction and seeing AA go after impact trades may be just what the doctor ordered.

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