Braves GM reveals secret to Deadline success

August 4th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Mark Bowman's Braves Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

When learned of a possible contract extension around 11 p.m. ET on Sunday, he assumed he may have to wait a week or two to get the deal done.

This was a fair assumption with the Trade Deadline less than 48 hours away. But nothing should ever be assumed when it involves Braves president of baseball operations and general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who has needed less than 24 hours to complete both of the two biggest deals in franchise history.

Remember the eight-year, $168 million deal Matt Olson signed in March? It was announced a day after Olson was acquired from the A’s. Riley’s 10-year, $212 contract extension was announced Monday evening, about 19 hours after the third baseman’s agent had told him Anthopoulos had called to discuss the potential deal.

Along with finalizing the Riley extension, Anthopoulos spent the first couple days of this week completing four trades that netted the Braves , left fielder , reliever  and starting pitcher .

What’s his secret?

“Have your family be out of town,” Anthopoulos said. “Seriously, I learned that in 2015, when my family went to Europe and I had my best Trade Deadline [with the Blue Jays].” 

While the Braves were luring Héctor Olivera to Atlanta before that 2015 Trade Deadline, Anthopoulos was guiding the Blue Jays to an American League West title with the acquisitions of Troy Tulowitzki and David Price. 

Anthopoulos helped the Braves win the 2018 National League East title with the acquisitions of Kevin Gausman and a couple bullpen reinforcements. He rebuilt Atlanta’s bullpen the next year with the deadline acquisitions of Mark Melancon, Shane Greene and Chris Martin. Then he won a World Series with last year’s acquisitions of Joc Pederson, Stephen Vogt, Richard Rodríguez, Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario and Adam Duvall.

When asked if he was satisfied with this year’s acquisitions, Anthopoulos said there was a lot of season left and it was his job to worry until the job is done.

Well, the presence of Odorizzi and Iglesias seemingly makes things far less worrisome than they would have been had Anthopoulos not upgraded his bullpen, while also creating insurance within his rotation.