Anthopoulos applies Buffett's lessons to Braves

GM taking patient approach to building club by chasing value

January 27th, 2018

ATLANTA -- As Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos progresses through the remainder of his career as a baseball executive, there's a strong possibility he will continue to be influenced by financial guru Warren Buffett and Francisco Cordero, the retired reliever who fell short of expectations after signing with the Blue Jays.
While experiencing the opening of Chop Fest weekend on Saturday at SunTrust Park, Anthopoulos spoke about how often he attempts to apply the philosophies of Buffett, who preaches that one should never chase price and always chase value.
Anthopoulos readily admits he didn't stick to this practice when, while serving as the Blue Jays' GM, he signed Cordero to a one-year $4 million contract -- approximately two weeks before the start of Spring Training. Cordero entered the offseason hoping to gain a multi-year deal with an average annual salary of approximately $10 million. His cost dropped as the beginning of the season approached and Toronto wanted a reliever -- especially after nixed a deal that would have sent him from the Rangers to the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays weren't interested in Cordero during the early portion of the offseason, and only gained interest when it appeared they might be getting a bargain. The reliever posted a 5.77 ERA over 41 appearances for Toronto and was traded on July 20 to the Astros, who then released him approximately two months later.
"All of my mistakes, [and] there have been plenty, I'm obsessive about learning from them," Anthopoulos said. "That Cordero story, I'll talk about it 20 years from now. That's no disrespect to Francisco Cordero, because he's a really good person. But I learned from it."

There's never been a reason to question the work ethic of Anthopoulos, who went to work on Friday and didn't exit his office for good until Saturday at 3 a.m. ET. History has proven he has never been shy about making a significant acquisition. But since joining the Braves on Nov. 13, he has taken time to get a better feel for his new organization -- and fought against the urge to make an acquisition just to make an acquisition.
"That's what you can get caught up in so late in the offseason, because it's so long and you feel like you're not doing your job if you don't find a way to improve the team," Anthopoulos said.
Anthopoulos' only significant move this offseason was made in December, when he made the financially-motivated deal that sent Matt Kemp to the Dodgers. The Braves wiped Kemp's salary from their 2019 payroll, but also took on some bad contracts that significantly lessened payroll flexibility for the upcoming season.
As Anthopoulos continues to plan for this season, he says he hasn't ruled out the possibility of adding a short-term third baseman, a reliever or an outfielder, whose value could decrease once Ronald Acuna is brought up to the Majors. The savvy GM hasn't said exactly how much money he has to play with, but it's believed the Braves have approximately $15 million to spend now or possibly at some point during the season.