Alex Anthopolous Interview on MLB Network Radio

AA was on MLB Network Radio talking about a variety of subjects: Acuna’s timeline, free agent 3Bs, Yelich/Realmuto, scouting, and miscellaneous prospects. Thanks to Braves Reddit for capturing it. Some highlights:

Host: Is there any chance he (Acuna) makes your team out of Spring Training?

AA: We’re still talking to free agents and exploring trades for outfielders for backfill depth. … He did not have a ton at the high levels of the minor leagues. … An ideal scenario is he would get more time.

He tried to dial back some of the expectations people have for Acuna in 2018.

Host: Is there a guy … you could with the way the market sets up that you could invest this year for someone you might still have long-term and do it a year early?

AA: Something we’ve kicked around. (Talks about the Kemp trade tying up 2018 payroll) That it isn’t to say we haven’t explored it with agents if we thought there were some guys that we thought were longer term fits that we could backload with the payroll space in 2019.

MLB Hot Stove rumors: Yu Darvish throws a ‘mystery team’ into his mix of suitors

If you tie both together, which is obviously a huge stretch, and remember that LA traded for Darvish while AA was there, he could be potentially referring to a backloaded Yu Darvish deal. Who knows?

He later talked about wanting to bring in a full-time 3B. Mentions that Johan Camargo played really well when he came up last year, and “Ruiz is someone internally that a lot of individuals felt like he is ready to make the next step and needs an opportunity to play every day and 2018 could be a very good year for him.” Trade bait?

But this was probably the most interesting thing to me. When asked about Alex Jackson, he said, “Great deal by John Hart and his group here to acquire him.” Uhhh, what? “John Hart and his group”. Is John Coppolella being scrubbed from the annals of Braves history? How did we go from here and here where you have quotes from Coppy and no mention of John Hart to no mention of Coppy at all? I speculate that the Braves would like for everyone to forget John Coppolella ever existed. Well, sorry, it doesn’t work that way. We’re not going to forget that you fired 2 GMs in 3 years.

He later says his rotation, in his mind, is Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz, Brandon McCarthy, Sean Newcomb, and Luiz Gohara, though he said Snitker would decide the order. Perhaps it’s noteworthy that he mentions McCarthy third and divided the five names into two groups: “three guys we expect to start” were Teheran/Folty/McCarthy and “frontrunners” Newcomb/Gohara. Mentions Max Fried and Lucas Sims, but does not mention Scott Kazmir. He refers to Kolby Allard as someone “who can emerge and come quick.” Same thing with Kyle Wright. He was very complimentary to Mike Soroka but didn’t include those accolades with Soroka.

Finally, he said he still lives in LA on the weekends and obviously works in Atlanta during the week.

Feel free to listen to the interview yourself:

59 thoughts on “Alex Anthopolous Interview on MLB Network Radio”

  1. winners wrote history
    back then, no mystery
    today we know better
    he was here, did many good things, a Brave to the letter.

    Great stand, Rob, well said.

  2. Cristian Pache
    why the decorum of Gianni Versace?
    you have ample blunt force
    hit it UP, to the Stars, as a matter of course.

  3. Remember when we all demanded that John Coppolella never be forgotten and literally no one cared?

  4. It’d be pretty crummy to win a World Series with Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte, Sean Newcomb, Mike Foltynewicz, Luiz Gohara, etc etc etc and not give any credit to the two GMs who acquired them, but instead give credit to John “I Belong On The Golf Course and MLB Network” Hart. Especially considering the deal they probably make to acquire an elite player will most likely be made by trading a depth of players (and not just one elite prospect and filler), something you can clearly attribute to Coppolella’s drafts and trades.

  5. David Freese has to be available now, and yes, should have definitely been included in my trade targets.

  6. More versatility, I’d rather see Josh Harrison over Freese. Could literally be had for our leftovers (Wisler, Blair, Demeritte, those types).

  7. Had an argument with a Cardinals fan today. The gist was basically if Andruw Jones isn’t a HoF, how is Yadier Molina?

    It definitely hit a nerve, so I would recommend usage in future interactions with that phylum, but past that, I honestly believe it to be a fair question. I don’t know what type of support Yadi will receive, but I’m skeptical he’ll be at risk to fall off the ballot in the first year.

  8. The Pittsburgh GM said that they moved Cole to the Astros because they offered the better total package. Other teams offered a better #1 player, but the Astros offered better second, third, and fourth players. I heard that and thought that Atlanta matched up perfectly. We may not be interested in dealing our top prospects, but like Ryan said, we could send them a ton of players who really need to go play for other teams, especially teams entering a rebuild and have nothing but opportunities. They could plug Ruiz at 3B, Wisler/Sims/Blair in the rotation, and Dustin Peterson in the high minors with an opportunity to get a spot in their outfield. And those players are all you’re going to get if you’re trying to get a quantity package for players like Harrison.

  9. I think the fact that you are worried about who will get the credit for our WS victories is just adorable.

  10. @10–OK, I’ll bite. The Yadier/Andruw comparison is a good one for these purposes. If either gets into the Hall, it will be based upon defense. Both are in the argument for best all time at their position (although Andruw’s case for that is stronger). Jones’ BRef defensive WAR is 24.1. Molina’s to date is 22.1.

    The biggest difference is offense. Andruw gets maligned for not living up to his offensive potential, but he still accumulated about 16 more offensive WAR than Molina. Of course a catcher’s offense does not need to be as strong as a center fielder’s.

    I have the impression Yadier will get substantial support from the HOF voters. Andruw’s case is at least as strong–probably stronger.

  11. Yadier Molina? Have people lost their dang minds? NO WAY NO WAY NO WAY. He is the 29th ranked CATCHER of all time. His gray ink is nowhere close to a HOF and Terry Steinbach is one of his closest comps.

    This is getting out of hand. It’s the Hall of FREAKING Fame.

    @11 Agreed.

  12. It’s not like college football where the adoration for the coach overshadows any love for any player (unless you’re Tim Tebow or Cam Newton or Marcus Mariota), but we still like to cheer the people at the top. We want to like Brian Snitker, though our heads tell us he’s a mediocre-to-below-average manager. We also really like the architects of great rosters. Theo Epstein had a lot of popularity after the Sox and Cubs’ World Series wins. Jeff Luhnow got a lot of love when I personally don’t think he even did that good of a job.

    The Braves have an opportunity to be really good for a really long time. A lot of that work, for better or for worse, was done by Coppy. If the Braves finish strong this year, or whenever their run begins, we’re going to be tempted to say, “Man, XYZ did a really good job.” Who? Who are you going to say? Are you actually going to say AA? Don’t act like you don’t care.

  13. Coppy didn’t exactly finish the job, so AA’s going to get the credit, fair or not.

    Most people on here don’t seem to think Coppy was doing that great before he got himself fired and banned from baseball anyway, so you’re asking the wrong crowd.

  14. @13 – I’m not saying you’re wrong; I just think you’re underestimating the impact of the narrative that he’ll ultimately be the beneficiary of.

    Coppy didn’t bat 1.000, but I always appreciated the fact the guy appeared tireless, was constantly thinking outside the box, and wasn’t afraid to swing big. I also think we’ll look back at his drafts (as Rob already has to a certain extent) and concede both the skill at evaluating talent as well as manipulation of the bonus pool limits.

    Ultimately, he did cheat and is deservedly paying the price, but personally, I have trouble mustering much outrage against paying kids something closer to their actual free market worth in the face of MLB’s bullshit market suppressing restrictions.

  15. I simply don’t understand the need to pay homage to a guy that at best split even by balancing out his very good acquisition moves by screwing the team for half a decade after being banned from the game. I mean, I get that he was shit on by MLB as an example, more than anything else. And that sucks for him. But as a fan of the Atlanta Braves, I really don’t give a shit who puts them back in contention. I care that someone *does.*

  16. The clear reason I still look at his tenure as a net positive is the depth he created in the system. The majority of the minor deals he made, the return on the big players, and the draft classes (both amateur and IFA even after the removals) while not completely bottoming out the major league roster like how Houston did was difficult, and he did indeed do that. I agree that there were some Coppy sycophants most likely because he’d actually talk to the fans, but I wouldn’t say I’m there, but I also wouldn’t say he wasn’t an important cog in the wheel.

    But of the smaller deals, a lot of these guys are still moving forward in the system. The returns for Chevanka, Chacin, Brian Matusz/Brandon Barker, KJ 1, KJ 2, Harrel/Alvarez, Aybar, Povse/Whalen, and the trade for Jose Ramirez have all worked out as intended in that the picks led to a good prospect, the prospects traded for have developed so far, guys are on the roster and contributing, and some guys are on the 40-man (McCreery, Scivicque at some point.) If the Braves have a shorter rebuild than others, it’s because Coppy’s drafts and trades have fortified the rotation, bullpen, bench, and about a 1/3 of the lineup.

    And that’s all the positivity I have about the situation.

  17. Pujols ranked 137th of 144 qualifiers last year in wOBA. It is incredible how the mighty has fallen. Angels only have 4 years and 114 million left on his contract.

  18. We play in pretty much the worst division in baseball. The division is “winnable” when a few breaks go your way. I still can’t forgive them for punting the season by selling off the last year of our decent position players. Either way we’re going to spend a decade trying to assemble as good of a roster as what Wren had in place. Cutting short the final year makes no sense at all to me. I’m never going to throw accolades towards any of the crew that was making the decisions at that time – Coppy included.

  19. I wouldn’t exactly call both the Shelby Miller trades the opposite of that. What does it matter the highs and lows?

  20. One year of Jason Heyward, who produced a 6.1 fWAR for $7.8M for St. Louis produced one year of Shelby Miller @ $535,000 and a 3.4 fWAR, and two seasons so far of Ender Inciarte at 3.0 and 3.6 fWAR @ $523,000 and $2.7M. So for Jason’s one season, you’ve so far gotten a total of 10.2 fWAR (Dansby has also produced .9 fWAR minus Blair’s -.7 fWAR), and that’s before Dansby Swanson has produced his best (and cost-controlled years) and Inciarte continues to be team friendly for another 5 years. I’m not a Coppy apologist, but the logic being used against the man is a little faulty. Any one trade you throw out can be easily nullified by another.

  21. I’d rather have had the one season, then tank. Couldn’t care less about the aggregates of the trades. None of the players we got in those trades are going to matter, at all.

    It takes too long to get back to that competitive window. We were still in the window, though it was obviously slamming shut on us. Just go for it. Either way you are going to spend 5 years finishing with a terrible record and rebuilding through the draft.

    I don’t see why everyone wants to throw attaboys at the arsonists that set our team on fire. Finishing last and drafting high doesn’t take any special talents.

  22. krussell gets it. We bizarro.

    @Rob Cope, I’ve been away for a few days. What a nice bit of news about you when I logged back on. Congratulations and keep up the good work.

    Thank you, AAR.

  23. The problem with the “take the year and tank” strategy (assuming that means not trading Heyward, etc) is that you end up with no talent at the MLB level and no talent in the system at all. That’s a LOT of tanking.

  24. Here we see Pittsburgh now doing what we did, blowing up their fringe-contending team one year “early.” It’ll be interesting to see how their rebuild compares to ours.

  25. @31, No doubt, no doubt. But the problem with the ‘deal away nearly everybody for prospects and press the reset button’ strategy is that you end up with your head up your ass trying to convince everybody you’re just reloading but all anyone can hear is a continuous bluster of farts.

  26. Most of this long term to and fro stuff is over my head – and there are some others i imagine who gave up saying ‘what if’ and ‘what will’ some decades ago.

    However, in this one instance i have succumbed. I know this.

    Had the ML inquiry failed to produce anything much or, more likely, were unable to substantiate most of the rumors etc, they, being so very fair minded people,would have been unable to nail him, punish us etc etc.

    At which point, on his return to Atlanta, palm fronds and roses to greet the conquering Hero would have been de riguer and you and i would be leading the throng. Ho, Ho we would chortle, good old Coppy, didn’t he fool them.

    And Kevin Maitan would be ordering a third baseman’s glove.

  27. RE: Andrelton trade

    Why would you trade away a generational talent like Simmons for a left-handed Lotto ticket (Newcombe) if you need to be strong defensively up the middle with all these young pitchers you’re trying out? Wouldn’t having Simmons at short go a long way toward building their confidence?

    I’ll never get over it, but I should.

  28. He rampantly cheated and could’ve set the rebuild back by a significant amount of time because of that (we still don’t know that he didn’t, frankly). He has forfeited all credit, and I frankly can’t believe we’re even talking about this. You cheat and are banned from the game, you get nothing and you deserve nothing. End of story.

    Also, he was well on his way to making our rebuild last we longer than it was supposed to, and never showed the slightest ability to put together a major league roster. And I remain wholly unconvinced that it was entirely necessary to begin with.

    Other than all that, the guy was just swell!

  29. Another reason AA will get the credit if the rebuild works is that he’s been there before. This could be the second successful rebuild he’ll have seen through, and if he can sustain any success, he’ll do it in the face of limitations his precedessor created.

    The one way we lucked out from the scandal is that AA’s track record shows he’s just flat-out better than Coppy.

  30. @36 – he did it because he was stripping the roster of everyone making any $ who was not named Freeman or Teheran (and I’m still convinced both those guys were shopped and then pulled off the market after the backlash).

    Which means it would have happened regardless of whether we had gone for it in 2015 – either way we would have been in “blow it up” mode by the Winter of ’15. I hated that trade then and I hate it now, but it was always going to happen.

  31. Under Scottish Law there are three verdicts a jury can return against you – Guilty, Not Guilty or Not Proven.

    The third choice has delicious potential in its interpretation by the cynical populace. Added by some wise men centuries ago it came to mean ‘We know you did it you old bastard but they didn’t prove it’.

    You do not leave the court ‘Without a stain on your character’. Everyone knows. But if it’s Coppy and the IFA who cares. You? Really?

  32. Ken Rosenthal says Manfred is putting in a pitch clock for 2018. I can’t even describe how much I hate that idea. Either people like baseball or they don’t – you’re not going to win any new fans by shaving 5 or 10 minutes off the average game time.

    Maybe it’s silly or sentimental but I hate the idea of clocks being involved with baseball at all.

  33. @42

    Totally disagree. There’s nothing good about pointlessly wasting 30 to 40 seconds between each pitch. It’s just needless dead space, and I don’t know why you wouldn’t try to eliminate it if you could without affecting the game…and no, forcing a pitcher to throw or a batter to stand in by the 20-second mark is not meaningfully affecting the game, in my opinion. That’s plenty of time. They can obviously wave it off if a batter fouls a ball off his foot or gets knocked on his ass by a pitch or something.

  34. A pitch clock was trialed in the minors last year and it worked pretty well. Leaving it up to the umps to enforce nebulous speed of play rules isn’t working. I have no problem giving it a try. It’s unlikely to turn out as badly as replay.

  35. You could speed the game up by half an hour if you got rid of the stupid between innings warmup period (brought to you by…commercials). Wonder why that idea never gets any love, lol.

  36. Agree with the no clocks in baseball aspect…admittedly sentimental, but it’s one of my favorite nuances about the game.

    That said, watching Pedro Baez pitch is excruciating.

  37. The pitch clock
    count me out, Jock
    an obsession with time
    just like the NFL, the EPL and others that won’t rhyme.

    In cricket we often bring out tea and cucumber sandwiches to the field for the players to enjoy, twice per game. What’s the rush?

  38. I get the angst, but if properly managed, the pitch clock idea could be fine.

    It’s also worth noting that the age trends in MLB viewership are *dire*. This won’t solve the problem, but MLB needs to do something.

  39. I have no problems with a pitch clock. It’s not a millennial thing; baseball is just not as competitive as a product of entertainment as other more fast-paced sports. Simple as that. You may love the dive bar down the street that no one goes into, but guess what, the market doesn’t agree, and if the dive bar had their way, it’d have a lot more folks in it.

    I don’t think they should get rid of warm-up pitches in between innings. There’s an injury component there. There’s no injury prevention from somebody getting their Steve Trachsel on between pitches.

  40. If “Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built – A Continuous Bluster of Farts” wasn’t the only thing you saw when you Googled something that caught this website, I would love to do that.

  41. I watch quite a bit of college baseball (mainly Vanderbilt) – the SEC has a 20 sec pitch clock when the bases are empty, and I don’t ever remember it being an issue.

    Personally, I wish there wasn’t a need for it, but I do think something should be tried to shorten the games. A regular season baseball game should not take 4+ hours. I get the concern, but if we’re talking tradition/sentimentality, the automatic IBB bothers me much more than a pitch clock.

  42. @53 – I would love to get Yellich, but the irretrievably broken crap is agent speak. If the guy can’t get motivated to play a game for 11 million dollars a year in front of adoring fans, he’s got problems. He’ll get over the awkwardness.

  43. I don’t have data to back it up, but IMO the number of pitching changes has increased. These changes take a lot of time (commercial breaks also). A possible rule change, one pitching change during an inning. The new pitcher has to finish the inning. Eliminate the guy that comes in for one batter, to be replaced by yet another pitcher.

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