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Anthopoulos quickly identifying Braves' needs

MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Between leaving Houston after Game 5 of the World Series and arriving in Atlanta the next day for an interview that had been scheduled just 48 hours earlier, new GM Alex Anthopoulos tried to learn as much as possible about the Braves' current roster, talent-rich farm system and financial situation.

Anthopoulos' last-minute cramming session was aided by the information supplied by Perry Minasian, who became the Braves' director of player personnel on Sept. 19 -- without any reason for Minasian to anticipate he was just a little more than a month away from once again working for one of his closest friends.

ATLANTA -- Between leaving Houston after Game 5 of the World Series and arriving in Atlanta the next day for an interview that had been scheduled just 48 hours earlier, new GM Alex Anthopoulos tried to learn as much as possible about the Braves' current roster, talent-rich farm system and financial situation.

Anthopoulos' last-minute cramming session was aided by the information supplied by Perry Minasian, who became the Braves' director of player personnel on Sept. 19 -- without any reason for Minasian to anticipate he was just a little more than a month away from once again working for one of his closest friends.

During his stint as the Blue Jays' general manager from 2009-15, Anthopoulos employed Minasian and selected him to be in his wedding party when Anthopoulos married his wife, Cristina, in 2010. The bond shared by these men should prove beneficial, as they now serve as two of the most influential members of an organization neither anticipated joining this year.

Anthopoulos flew to Orlando, Fla., to participate in MLB's annual General Managers Meetings, and was reunited with Minasian hours after he was introduced as the Braves' executive vice president and general manager on Monday afternoon in Atlanta.

Minasian spent the past six weeks working with assistant GM Adam Fisher to plan for the 2018 season and deal with the fallout that cost former GM John Coppolella his job and led John Hart to relinquish his title as president of baseball operations.

"It's going to take me some time," Anthopoulos said. "I have some opinions, but those guys are way more informed. So, I'm going to lean very heavily on them."

Hart was present throughout the interview process and he spent much of Tuesday giving Anthopoulos a better understanding of the players and personnel within the Braves system. But as Hart now assumes a senior advisor role and has to remove himself from baseball operations activities, Minasian and Fisher will serve as the new GM's right-hand men.

Anthopoulos is obviously well aware of esteemed prospect Ronald Acuna and the possible need to create a lineup spot for him by parting ways with either Matt Kemp or Nick Markakis this winter. At the same time, the Braves' new GM has been briefed about the potential benefit of adding a couple relievers or possibly a third baseman this winter.

But with the 72 hours that have passed since he ended his days as the Dodgers' vice president of baseball operations and became Atlanta's GM, Anthopoulos has chosen to simply digest a plethora of information.

"I'm just trying to keep my head above water until the end of the week," Anthopoulos said. "I think in a week or two, I can look at it more definitively."

Anthopoulos will likely spend Thanksgiving with his wife and children at the home they are currently renting in suburban Los Angeles. But there isn't any reason for Braves fans to fear the possibility of their new GM taking a few days to disconnect from his new responsibility.

During the days leading up to his wedding in 2010, while Anthopoulos was with the Blue Jays, he diligently discussed and evaluated the possibility of signing Aroldis Chapman, who had defected from Cuba the previous summer and was preparing to sign with a Major League club.

Anthopoulos met with Minasian and other staff members for three hours the night before his wedding and then sent his offer the next morning, just before heading to the church.

"There are a lot of people in this game who work hard and are passionate about what they do," Minasian said. "Some people might be looking forward to some downtime next week, but I've already prepared my wife and told her we might be busy."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

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