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 Though Blakeley rescinded his resignation according to a person close to the situation, he has not continued as a Braves employee and met again last week with MLB offficials in the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

Brian Snitker’s near life-long trek with Braves continues
Brian Snitker’s near life-long trek with Braves continues

Braves manager Brian Snitker embodies the baseball lifer. A long-time minor league coach, the journey seems all worthwhile now. It was being absent from family for weeks, months. Lengthy nights on the bus, sometimes enduring flat tires or breakdowns that’d require spending the night in a stranger’s machine shed. It was receiving a call...
Braves part ways with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez
Braves part ways with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez

Chuck Hernandez won’t be returning as Braves pitching coach in 2019, the organization announced Monday. Hernandez, 57, held the position the past two seasons following Roger McDowell’s departure. He’s the only coach not returning to manager Brian Snitker’s staff. “It’s more of a directional thing,” general...
Brian Snitker agrees to 2-year contract extension with Braves
Brian Snitker agrees to 2-year contract extension with Braves

The Atlanta Braves have agreed to terms on a two-year contract — with a club option for the 2021 season — with manager Brian Snitker. Snitker has managed the Braves since being named interim manager on May 17, 2016, replacing Fredi Gonzalez. He has been with the Braves organization for 43 seasons.  After three consecutive 90-loss...
Braves confident in Ozzie Albies’ development
Braves confident in Ozzie Albies’ development

As the Braves surged in the second half, their second baseman was a borderline offensive liability. Ozzie Albies was the MVP of April. He mustered a franchise-record 22 extra-base hits that month, eventually knocking 20 homers before the midseason break. He just missed starting the All-Star Game, but made the roster nonetheless. The 21-year-old was...
For Braves, this winter is chance to join MLB’s upper class
For Braves, this winter is chance to join MLB’s upper class

Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies stood over the dugout railing at the conclusion of Game 4, watching the Dodgers celebrate on the SunTrust Park infield. The Braves had a front-row view of the franchise they want to become. The Dodgers were deep, star-studded, stupendously managed top to bottom and blessed with intangibles out the wazoo.  As such...
More Stories