Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Anthopoulos might be fine but Braves blew it with best choice


This is nothing against Alex Anthopoulos, who will be the Braves’ new general manager and might end up doing a fine job in cleaning up the mess he has inherited, giving the organization the leadership and stability it desperately needs.

But he wasn’t the first choice. The first choice, Kansas City’s Dayton Moore, a former Braves’ executive, isn’t coming back to Atlanta and the reason isn’t as simple as the Royals blocked his path, as some would have you believe.

If Moore really wanted to come back -- which likely would have happened if he was comfortable that he would be given complete control of the organization, could hire and fire who he wanted and do it all with a solid feeling about the franchise -- he would be here. Moore is under contract with the Royals but his relationship with ownership is such that if he pressed the issue, there’s a good chance he ultimately would’ve been allowed to leave, given all he has done for that small-market organization.

He built a two-time World Series team. In a small market. In this era. That Moore is not a member of the Braves today means they blew their best chance for immediate credibility. Because they need credibility right now.

Now, onto Anthopoulos. His imminent hiring was confirmed by the Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien after first being reported by the New York Post’s and MLB Network Insider Joel Sherman. The announcement could come today at the general manager meetings in Orlando. It would alleviate the Braves of the embarrassment of not having a GM at the GM meetings.

Anthopoulos spent seven years (2009-16) with Toronto after being hired at the age of 32. He had hits and misses like everybody else. He did not win a World Series or American League pennant during his tenure but the team he helped build went to the ALCS in 2015 and 2016.

He rejected a five-year contract extension after the 2015 season. Speculation is he was concerned his power might be undercut by the hiring of new team president Mark Shapiro.  So Anthopoulos left for Los Angeles, where he has spent the last two years as the Dodgers’ executive vice president.

The next question is what happens in the front office above Anthopoulos. As I’ve written before, the Braves need to dump team president John Hart , against the backdrop of an MLB investigation into the breaking of rules in international signings and potentially other areas. John Coppolella already lost his job as general manager. Team CEO Terry McGuirk also should be in trouble.

MLB has not yet announced their findings. Liberty Media, the otherwise detached corporate owner, also isn’t happy about all this.

Hiring a new general manager was only one small part of the Braves’ problem. The real problems go much higher than that.

EARLIER: Poll: Would Georgia have better chance against Alabama or Auburn?

Subscribe to the,We Never Played The Game” podcast with the AJC's Jeff Schultz and WSB’s Zach Klein on iTunes or on the new AJC sports podcasts page.

Recent ramblings

 


Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.