Braves to hire Alex Anthopoulos as GM


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Braves will hire former Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos as their next general manager, a person familiar with the situation confirmed late Sunday. An announcement is expected Monday.

Anthopoulos served seven years as Blue Jays general manager through 2015  -- he was hired to that post at just 32 years of age -- before spending the past two seasons as Dodgers vice president of baseball operations.

He has a background in scouting but was among the first wave of young GMs to fully embrace the use of statistical analytics, and he’s known for being aggressive with trades and signings.

Anthopoulos’ hiring comes just as the GM Meetings begin Monday at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, and six weeks after John Coppolella was forced to resign as Braves GM amid a investigation by Major League Baseball into numerous alleged rules infractions by the Braves in the areas of international free agency and the draft.

Special assistant and international scouting supervisor Gordon Blakeley was also forced to resign with Coppolella on Oct. 2. Though Blakeley rescinded his resignation according to a person close to the situation, he has not continued as a Braves employee and met again last week with MLB offficials in the ongoing investigation.

That investigation is likely be completed within the next few weeks before the December Winter Meetings. The Braves are braced for heavy penalties including the possible loss of prospects and restrictions on future drafts and free-agent dealings.

The Braves’ first choice to lead their baseball operations was thought to be Dayton Moore, a former Atlanta assistant GM who left to become Royals GM and built Kansas City into a 2015 World Series champion. But Moore is still under contract and the Royals denied the Braves permission to interview him.

If Anthopoulos was a Plan B, then most baseball insiders would agree it was an impressive fallback for the Braves, especially considering the black eye the organization has absorbed since details of the investigation first began to leak.

Anthopoulos took over as Blue Jays general manager in 2009 and rebuilt that team into a division winner in 2015, ending a postseason drought of 22 years in Toronto.

His trades for Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and David Price provided essential pieces that made the Blue Jays a playoff team again, and he was lauded for finding a way to trade Vernon Wells’ onerous contract and for signing Toronto standouts Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to club-friendly contract extensions.

Not every move he made worked out: Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud were traded to the Mets for R.A. Dickey, and there was a relatively small return when he traded away Blue Jays icon Roy Halladay. There were also a few free-agent signings that didn’t work out.

Still, on balance Anthopoulos is regarded as bright and astute.

The Greek Canadian native was a scout with the Expos and Blue Jays before becoming one of baseball’s youngest-ever GMs at age 32. Anthopoulos turned down extension offers to stay with Toronto as GM after the Blue Jays hired Mark Shapiro as president, a move that would have reduced Anthopoulos’ scope of influence as far as having final say over baseball matters.

While the Braves currently have John Hart as president of baseball operations, Hart’s contract expires at the end of the year and it’s not believed that he’ll continue in the same position, and if he does it almost certainly won’t be with the same power as Anthopoulos is expected to have final say in baseball matters regardless of title.

Hart was also being looked at by MLB in its investigation to determine whether he had knowledge of misdeeds by Coppolella and Blakeley.

Anthopoulos will be reunited in Atlanta with Perry Minasian, his former Blue Jays scouting director who was hired in September as Braves director of player personnel, a new position in the organization.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Atlanta Braves

Albies and Acuna: Braves already liking the ring to that
Albies and Acuna: Braves already liking the ring to that

Reporters encompassed Ronald Acuna in the Braves’ clubhouse after his big-league debut Wednesday. As the interview ended, Ozzie Albies was the first to react. “Are you guys finished with the baby now?” Albies asked, laughing and smiling before being playfully nudged by Acuna. Albies, 21, and Acuna, 20, are exhilarated to be reunited...
Acuna’s debut boosts Braves’ viewership
Acuna’s debut boosts Braves’ viewership

Ronald Acuna’s much-anticipated major-league arrival has stirred enthusiasm among Braves fans, as evidenced by the local TV ratings for his first game Wednesday night.  Fox Sports Southeast’s telecast of Acuna’s debut at Cincinnati posted a 3.24 rating in the Atlanta TV market, up 33 percent from an average of 2.43 for all previous...
What Braves said after youthful win over Reds
What Braves said after youthful win over Reds

The Braves offense couldn’t have had a much more exciting Thursday. Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies homered. Freddie Freeman hit three doubles. Ender Inciarte extended his hitting streak to 10 games. And the Braves defeated the Reds, 7-4, to split the series in Cincinnati. Here’s what the team said afterward: -On Acuna’s homer: &ldquo...
Photos: All in fun, Braves shun Acuna after home run
Photos: All in fun, Braves shun Acuna after home run

Ronald Acuna has played two games in the majors and he’s already impressing everyone. Well, except his teammates who did not offer him high-fives in the dugout after his towering shot against the Reds Thursday. It was all in fun of course, sort of a baseball tradition that playfully sends a message that a new guy’s accomplishment is...
A.J. Minter earns first save, wants the high-pressure moments
A.J. Minter earns first save, wants the high-pressure moments

A.J. Minter got what he’s wanted Wednesday night: taking the mound in a high-leverage situation and finishing a game. Minter recorded his first save in a 5-4 win over the Reds in Cincinnati. Minter entered the game to face Joey Votto, Scooter Gennett and Adam Duvall, the heart of the Reds’ order. Votto flew out to left. Gennett struck out...
More Stories