Braves entertaining calls on major league talent

Trade conversations and speculation usually center on the Braves’ minor league crop, but their general manager confirmed Monday that the team has received calls on their major league players – and won’t rule out a deal involving them.

Speaking with the media at the winter meetings in Las Vegas, Alex Anthopoulos revealed his club has taken calls beyond the usual prospect pandering.

“We encourage conversation,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to ask about anybody. We won’t get offended. I’d rather have the conversation, so we encourage ideas, thoughts, whatever it might be, free-flowing conversation. So we’ll consider anything.”

Second baseman Ozzie Albies is a popular target among rival teams, though there’s no indication the Braves would move him. There’s interest in utilityman Johan Camargo, especially after the Braves added Josh Donaldson, prompting belief he could be expendable (the Braves are adamant he isn’t and plan for him to be a pivotal part of their team; there’s nothing to suggest otherwise).

Outfielder Ender Inciarte has been a speculated trade candidate, and other teams haven’t shied away from calling on the 28-year-old Gold Glover. But the Braves already have one hole in the outfield, and dealing Inciarte – especially without receiving another outfielder in return – would require notable compensation, perhaps with accompanied move(s). Ronald Acuna would move to center in such scenario.

Teams have asked about All-Star starter Mike Foltynewicz, but the Braves haven’t listened on their blooming ace. He will not be traded.

Starter Julio Teheran would be movable if the team added another starter, but as the roster stands now, the Braves don’t intend to deal him due to a need for innings. The Braves’ wealth of pitching prospects factor into their 2019 plans, but they can’t be overly reliant on any of them.

“There’s a chance,” Anthopoulos said of trading major leaguers. “We’re talking about some things. I wouldn’t say we’re close, but we’ve definitely had some conversations about taking some players off the big league team.”

Anthopoulos said he’s taken a “healthy dose” of calls on both his MLB roster and prospects. The Braves are a popular target, even for false rumors, due to their financial capabilities and seemingly endless prospect collection. In reality, they try to keep conversations under wraps.

The Braves will meet with several agents and teams in the coming days, though they won’t press to complete a deal during the period. Anthopoulos prefers to do business before and after the meetings, but perhaps this time builds groundwork for an eventual agreement.

“It’s beneficial in the sense that people are motivated and they’re here,” Anthopoulos said. “There’s a theme of being active. That’s what you’re here to do every day. There’s definitely a window to get things done. … If we can make a trade or signing, we’ll do it.”