Those five are Max Fried, Dallas Keuchel and Julio Teheran — the scheduled starters in this series — plus Soroka and Mike Foltynewicz, an All-Star in 2018 who was sent to the minors earlier this season. Sean Newcomb was sent to the bullpen, and Kevin Gausman was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds.
Anthopoulos added relievers Shane Greene, Mark Melancon and Chris Martin at the trading deadline, but has mostly resisted dealing from the Braves’ stockpile of pitching prospects. He has also been frugal in free agency, signing Josh Donaldson, Brian McCann and Keuchel to one-year deals and resisting most long-term commitments. Only four players — first baseman Freddie Freeman, Albies and outfielders Acuna and Ender Inciarte — are signed past 2020.
“When we believe in the opportunity, we’ll spend and we’ll add,” Anthopoulos said. “But we have to believe in the opportunity. I think we have shown it at various times, but we are very selective about what we do and how we do it.”
The conservative approach has worked for the Braves, who staggered through three seasons of at least 90 losses before last year’s breakthrough. Soon enough, they should have another chance to win a postseason series, which they have not done since 2001. If fans are focused on that, Anthopoulos said, it is a sign of progress.
“We get back to the playoffs and we get eliminated in the first round, and then it’s another level of expectation, which is great: We haven’t won a series,” Anthopoulos said. “It went from three years of losing 90 games, which was hard on this fan base, and now we’ve made it back. But getting in every year, consistently, is hard enough, and you can’t get ahead of yourself.”
The Mets have lived that reality. As hot as they have been lately, they are still chasing the Braves — not the other way around.
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