All of major league baseball gathered in Orlando this week for the 2017 winter meetings. The Braves, led by new general manager Alex Anthopoulos, didn’t make any free agent or trade acquisition, but Anthopoulos said it was a productive week nonetheless.
The team made one addition through the Rule 5 draft. It sits at 38 players on its 40-man roster.
Here are some of the Braves headlines from a busy week in baseball:
1. The only transaction the Braves made was selecting Anyelo Gomez from the Yankees in Thursday’s Rule 5 draft. The 24-year-old had a 1.92 ERA along with 87 strikeouts and 21 in 38 games (70 1/3 innings) across four minor league levels last season.
If the Braves don’t keep Gomez on their 25-man roster for the duration of next season, they must offer him back to the Yankees for $50,000. Gomez could join Dan Winkler as Rule 5 picks who make up the Braves’ bullpen.
2. Often the background work for deals is put together at the winter meetings. Anthopoulos’ team was only briefly mentioned in a few rumors, but he feels they’ve made progress toward eventual moves.
The Braves were connected to outfielder Christian Yelich, who may be the next casualty of the Marlins’ firesale. With Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna already dealt, Yelich becomes Miami’s best asset. The cost will be high, and given Anthopoulos’ recent comments, it’s hard to tell if he’s willing to make such a drastic move just yet.
3. In speaking to the media, Anthopoulos provided clarity on a few philosophies. He initially adopted the Braves’ principle of not committing no-trade clauses and intends to continue that. He also spoke about potential superstar prospect Ronald Acuna and how he factors into the 2018 big league club. Manager Brian Snitker added praise for the soon-to-be rookie outfielder.
“Right now if we were to open the year, you’d have Dansby at short, Ozzie at second base,” Anthopoulos said. “But I am trying to just educate myself. I didn’t see these guys in the minor leagues. There’s no plans to make any changes at all, but kind of throwing it out as, do we let both of them take ground balls at both spots at spring training, just to take a look? Haven’t decided anything, but those are just some of the questions that get asked, brainstorming things like that.”
5. The Braves are getting more analytical. That’s not to say they didn’t delve into the numbers world before, but Anthopoulos has a deeper background in analytics and was most recently with the Dodgers, a franchise that’s become one of the most forward thinkers in the game.
Part of that starts with the defense, where Anthopoulos hopes to improve to help the younger arms.