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Braves expect to stay quiet at winter meetings

The Braves didn’t anticipate completing a deal at the winter meetings. After a couple days in Las Vegas, their expectations haven’t changed.

“I wouldn’t expect, by the time we leave the meetings, we’ll have anything done for a starter or a reliever, as we sit here today,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “That can change fast, but right now we don’t have any momentum towards – where I think things are headed with guys, whether it’s trade or free agents. I don’t think we have any momentum to be able to close something in the next two days.”

Outfielder wasn’t included in Anthopoulos’ first elaboration, but he admitted the odds of adding to his lineup are also low in a follow-up question. The Braves aren’t necessarily prioritizing their desires, but outfield has been the most-mentioned top need.

“Position-player-wise, I’d say the same thing,” he said. “We have a handle on where things are headed with certain guys, but I’d say we’re not close to anything.”

Anthopoulos has invested his time furthering an understanding of the market. He wasn’t surprised by any recent transactions – including the Blue Jays releasing shortstop Troy Tulowitzki or the Phillies giving Andrew McCutchen $50 million over three years – and he’s constantly touched base with agents and teams.

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That said, the Braves don’t currently have any offers out for free agents, Anthopoulos confirmed. As the market stands now, they might not strike until next month. The landscape hasn’t developed in the way the organization would prefer, both in free agency and trade discussions.

“I don’t know how active December is going to be,” Anthopoulos said. “I think (Josh) Donaldson, (Brian) McCann were obviously both in November. We’re getting to the middle of December and only have a day left pretty much. … I just think we’re going to need to wait things out a bit, for where we value things and the price points that we want, both in free agency and trade – I just think we’ll have to be patient overall and just wait it out, because it’s just not there for us this month.”

A prime example might be McCutchen, who the Braves viewed more as a one-or-two-year fallback option than an expensive signee. Starter J.A. Happ, whom the team is interested in, remains unsigned in part due to a demand for a three-year deal, which no team has reportedly offered.

But Anthopoulos did publicly declare an affinity for his infield weeks before signing Donaldson, so it’s not as though his thinking is set in stone. The Braves aren’t hand-tied by the need to add specific players; they’re more interested in getting fair value and bettering the club in any position, even if it’s not a need.

“It all depends,” he said. “There’s a little bit of Groundhog Day to this. You’re constantly floating ideas, encouraging conversation and so on. The more you talk through things and stay engaged with clubs, you don’t know what’s going to come from it.”

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