LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Though the Braves might set their sights on acquiring a controllable frontline starting pitcher within the next year, it appears their current focus is finding a short-term fix to satisfy their desire to add experience to their inexperienced rotation.
Regardless of what additions the Braves make this winter, their future will arguably be more significantly influenced by the progress made by the many young starters who could fill Atlanta's rotation in 2018.
When the time is right, there may be a desire to strike a big deal for a legit ace. But until that time comes, the Braves will focus on their immediate wants and needs, which include the possibility of using the trade or free-agent market to acquire a starting pitcher with a one- or two-year deal.
"We haven't come close to anything," Anthopoulos said. "But it would be nice. I'd say it's more of a want rather than a need, just to add some innings to protect some of our kids."
As things currently stand, the Braves' rotation would include Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Luiz Gohara and a to-be-determined fifth starter. Teheran and Foltynewicz stand as the only members of this group who have made at least 20 career starts, and Gohara's candidacy is based on the five career starts he made in September.
If the Braves were to sign a veteran free agent such as Wade Miley to a one-year deal, they could give Max Fried a chance to gain a couple of more months comfortably developing in the Minors. The addition of a short-term rotation piece might also make it easier to utilize Lucas Sims as one of the multiple multi-inning options that would likely exist within what is expected to be an eight-man bullpen.
The Braves certainly don't want to block any of their internal options, which include Mike Soroka and Kolby Allard, a couple of highly regarded prospects who could be deemed MLB-ready at some point this summer. But at the same time, they don't want to enter the season without the insurance to guard against rushing the development of any of their young internal options.
Anthopoulos also mentioned the possibility of utilizing a young starter as a reliever, much like Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez did when Anthopoulos served as Toronto's GM.
"I hope we're in that position [where somebody might be being blocked]," Anthopoulos said. "If guys are throwing the ball well, maybe we make a trade. We have an asset. That's the exciting part. There are so many arms here. Hopefully they're all flourishing and we have too many and we have to create space. That's a great problem to have."
The Braves are also looking to add experience to their bullpen, but they have not yet become too involved within what has once again been an active and highly lucrative market for relievers.
"We're staying engaged on that and we're monitoring that," Anthopoulos said. "We're not close to anything with a reliever right now. A lot of names have come off the board, but there's still a lot of names out there."
Anthopoulos has also had a chance to gain a better feel for the value his two veteran corner outfielders -- Nick Markakis and Matt Kemp -- might have on the trade market. There is a chance the Braves could bid adieu to both to make room for Ronald Acuna and a potential offseason acquisition. The Reds' Adam Duvall and the Marlins' Christian Yelich are among the outfielders who could be available via a trade.
"I've told everybody we're open on anybody, and let's just find out how the market values all of our players," Anthopoulos said.