When Alex Anthopoulos became the Braves' general manager in November, he inherited one of the top farm systems in baseball.
Through blockbuster trades while GM of the Blue Jays, Anthopoulos demonstrated that he's not afraid to part with top prospects. In Atlanta, he's already constructed a creative swap of large contracts with the Dodgers. And he may not be done with major moves in his first offseason with the Braves.
The Braves have contacted the Marlins to express interest in trading for outfielder Christian Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto, sources said. While the talks have yet to advance, there's little doubt that the Braves have the prospect depth to entice their National League East rival.
One major reason for Anthopoulos to be opportunistic: Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran and Ender Inciarte are the only players on guaranteed contracts with the Braves beyond the 2018 season, providing Anthopoulos with a high degree of financial flexibility.
The Braves also are open to signing a free-agent starting pitcher, one source said this week, although they are not currently engaged in active negotiations within that marketplace. For now, the Braves have only three starters locked into rotation spots for 2018: Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz and the newly acquired Brandon McCarthy.
Since the Braves aren't close to Major League Baseball's competitive balance tax threshold, Anthopoulos has the freedom to backload multiyear contracts without major financial repercussions. With many starting pitchers still unsigned -- Yu Darvish, Jacob Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn, among others -- one could fall into the Braves' price range.