MLB: Assessing the NL East GMs at the midway point

Jul 1, 2021; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves pinch hitter Ronald Acuna Jr. (13 reacts after getting a single against the New York Mets during the eight inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 1, 2021; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves pinch hitter Ronald Acuna Jr. (13 reacts after getting a single against the New York Mets during the eight inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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Marcell Ozuna had a bad year, and then it got much worse. David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Marcell Ozuna had a bad year, and then it got much worse. David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

Atlanta Braves, Alex Anthopoulos, -5.2 games

Since coming to Atlanta in the aftermath of the Coppolella scandal of 2018, Anthopoulos has been a pretty consistent team-building genius. He has improved the Braves to an average of more than six games per MLB season.

So the collapse, both of the Braves and also of Anthopoulos, in 2021 was very much unexpected.

It is, however, easy to quantify.

Since the conclusion of the 2020 season, Anthopoulos has added 20 faces to the Braves roster who have had playing time, while subtracting eight others who found major league jobs elsewhere. Of those 28 moves, only seven have worked to the advantage of the Braves. Only the signing of veteran starter Charlie Morton (+0.9) has helped by anything approximating one game.

Most of the rest of the Anthopoulos 2021 saga is a tale of woe. He re-signed outfielder Marcell Ozuna (-0.8), coming off a fabulous 2020 campaign, only to see the outfielder tank and then get suspended for domestic abuse.

The Braves were committed to paying Ozuna $12 million this year and then another $68 million through 2025, so to an extent, there’s a bright side they may at least get out from under that contractual albatross if Ozuna does not return.

Anthopoulos tried to patch up the perennially injured Braves mound staff by signing a raft of veteran free agent journeymen. That list includes Josh Tomlin (-0.1), Drew Smyly (-0.7), Jesse Biddle (-0.4), Carl Edwards Jr. (-0.2), Shane Green (-0.6), and Nate Jones (+0.1). Aside from Morton, none have worked out. Net impact on the Braves: -1.9.

Christian Pache (-0.9) was a touted rookie likely to force his way into the team’s outfield by now. Pache batted .111 before being dispatched to the minors.

Next. Assessing the AL Central GMs. dark

In part due to the expected arrival of Pache and the prominence of Ozuna, Anthopoulos decided the Braves had no room for outfielder Adam Duvall. Turns out they did. The problem is Duvall signed with the Marlins, where he has to date harvested 18 home runs and +0.9 Wins Above Average.