Anthopoulos: Braves' focus is adding OF
GM keeping eye on a few key trade, free-agent targets
ATLANTA -- Count Freddie Freeman among those who have become antsy while waiting to see if the Braves add to the splash made in late November, when Josh Donaldson and Brian McCann signed with Atlanta.
"[Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos] and [assistant GM Perry Minasian] are probably annoyed with me," Freeman said. "I talk to them pretty much every week. I'm like everybody else, I want to see what's going on. I do like what we did at the beginning. We came out guns a-blazing by [adding] Josh and Brian. We still obviously have a hole in right field. We'll see what happens. I'm paying attention. I see who is still out there."
As Anthopoulos spoke to media members at Chop Fest on Saturday afternoon, he would like to be more specific about his pursuits, but not at the sake of weakening his negotiating power. Still, he said his current focus is centered on landing an outfielder, and he revealed at least one pursuit could resolve itself soon.
"Some of the things we've explored are starting to move," Anthopoulos said. "There are a lot of things we'd like to do and a lot of things we'd like to get done. We just don't want to force a move. I know at times that can be tough for a fanbase. Everybody wants to see us make a splash with trades and signings. I get it. The one thing I know the fans care about is if that team is going to win on the field. I've been there. I've won the offseason before. I've made the big splashes. It does not always work. That is not always the best way to go about it. That doesn't mean we're not going to take opportunities to make the team better, and there's still opportunities out there."
• Hot Stove Tracker
Anthopoulos said there are probably three outfielders still available via trade or free agency who he views as a potential fit for his roster. While he didn't specify these targets, it's long been known there's a chance Nick Markakis is brought back. A.J. Pollock stands as the only other free-agent outfielder who seems to be a possible fit, but his market has not yet dropped into Atlanta's comfort zone.
Detroit is willing to deal Nicholas Castellanos, whose defensive shortcomings decrease his value. But Anthopoulos indicated at least one of his potential trade targets has not been publicly discussed. He also provided the reminder that by signing a free agent, another team could be financially pushed to make an outfielder available.
While landing an outfielder currently seems to be the priority, Anthopoulos did not rule out the possibility of acquiring a starting pitcher or reliever before the start of the season. It may seem optimal to have a team in place at the start of Spring Training. But recent market trends have prepared GMs to remain quite active in February and March.
"I expect us to add. I just don't know if that's one, two or three players," Anthopoulos said. "Depending on the free agent market, conversely, there's a trade market that goes along with that. Maybe this kicks into Spring Training. So, I'd say between now and Opening Day, I'm confident we'll have added a player."