680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – As the clock ticked closer and closer to the 4pm Trade Deadline on Monday, Braves fans were all holding their collective breath that a deal could get worked out to land another starting pitcher to the mix. However, as four o’clock came and went, disappointment spread across social media in regards to the club’s decision to stand pat. “The biggest change from past years, with the expanded playoffs, there’s fewer sellers and more buyers” GM Alex Anthopoulos said on Monday afternoon. “Everybody wants to be able to make deals to improve the team, but we’re always faced with the decision short term/long term and you have to decided which is right” Anthopoulos added. So, should fans really be disappointed the club didn’t pull off a big deal to land a stud starter? You can make the argument both ways, so why don’t we take a look at the pros and cons of the decision to not pull the trigger on a blockbuster like the Padres did.
Yes, it’s ok to be upset the team wasn’t able to land another top-of-the-rotation starter. We know when it comes to winning in October, it all starts with pitching. As things stand now, you’ve got Max Fried…and everybody else. Will you really want to throw Ian Anderson into a Game Two start come October? How much comfort would you take seeing Josh Tomlin or Robbie Erlin in a win-or-go-home scenario? So, in that regard, yes, it’s ok to be disappointed. Folks I talked to as late as an hour before the deadline yesterday still had hope the team could line up with a trade partner and add another solid piece to compliment with Max Fried. After all, this team is built to win now. Offensively, they can put up numbers that can overcome shortcomings from the rotation. And the bullpen is one of the most solid units in the game. The bench is also stronger than it’s been in years past, so again, yes, it’s ok to be bummed. We’ve seen firsthand over the last few years that the window of opportunity only stays open for so long. So, even if it meant parting with top prospects, you can easily make the argument that it was what the team should’ve done yesterday.
That said, you can also make a valid argument as to why the team made the right decision. Over the last few years, teams have come calling on key pieces like Ronald Acuna Jr, Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, Ian Anderson, Mike Soroka and others. The club has respectfully declined those offers that would’ve undoubtedly been part of blockbuster deals. But we know those big time deals for rentals don’t always work out in the end. So, the idea of mortgaging your future for a run at a title for one year can be extremely shortsighted and end up doing more harm than good. Take into consideration that asking prices were extremely steep this year, higher than ever before, it was going to further complicate contending teams chances of landing those big key pieces to put them over the top. Yes, I expected the team to be active, and land a stud starter. And I understand some of the fan’s frustrations when they saw the team come away empty on Monday. But the Braves, like many other teams, just weren’t comfortable with the astronomical asking prices that a handful of sellers were asking when it came to key pieces.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.