Alex Anthopoulos

From BR Bullpen

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Alex Anthopoulos
(Double A)

Biographical Information[edit]

Alex Anthopoulos has been the General Manager of the Atlanta Braves since 2017, having previously held the same position with the Toronto Blue Jays from 2009 to 2015.

A native of Montreal, QC who is fluently bilingual in English and French, Anthopoulos became interested in baseball in the early 1990s after seeing the Montréal Expos play at Olympic Stadium. After his father's passing, he realized that he wanted to do something that he loved for a living. He proceeded to call several Major League organizations, looking for a foot in the door. His chance came when he got a direct line to the Expos GM Jim Beattie's office in Florida. He offered to work for free doing something he loved, and he was given his chance. He worked in the media relations department with the Expos, and moved to their scouting department in 2001. In 2003, when the Expos' days in Montreal were numbered, he accepted a lower-paying job with Toronto in order to remain in Canada.

Anthopoulos was named general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays after the ouster of J.P. Ricciardi on October 3, 2009. He came to the general manager's position with the Blue Jays with several years of experience in the world of baseball, starting with the Expos in 2000. He was hired by the former GM Ricciardi as a scouting coordinator for the Blue Jays in 2003, was promoted to assistant GM following the 2005 season, and was given the title of vice-president, baseball operations in January 2006. He also worked to help put together the Greek national team prior to the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He can speak some Greek and has joked on-air with local radio personalities about hosting a baseball show in Greek on the local multicultural channel, all of which are owned by the Rogers conglomerate who also own the Blue Jays.

Anthopoulos was largely praised when he took over the Blue Jays, as his policy of getting rid of some big contracts, particularly that of Vernon Wells and basing the team around star slugger Jose Bautista and a number of young players, many of which were acquired through some shrewd trades, was very popular with the fan base. The team played better than expected in 2011 and hopes were high when the team started 2012 well, staying in the division title chase over the first half in a bunched-up AL East. However things went sour in the second half, when Bautista was injured, as was young starter Brandon Morrow, and ace Ricky Romero seemingly could not buy a win. Things came to a head in mid-September when SS Yunel Escobar was suspended for three games for wearing eye-black on which a homophobic slur had been written. Sportswriters used the incident to criticize the Jays' entire approach to the game (they had by then sunk to last place, behind the Boston Red Sox, who were going through some well-publicized turmoil of their own), with Anthopoulos a particular target. Among the loudest critics were Bob McCown of Rogers Sportsnet, and former player Gregg Zaun, both of whom were working for media companies owned by Rogers Communications, the Jays' parent company. Zaun called him "a sabermetrician, a bean counter" and said that he was unable to assess the impact of his decisions on the atmosphere in the clubhouse, having never played the game.

Anthopoulos became quickly known for his willingness to pull a blockbuster trade in order to improve the Blue Jays, or at least change their roster thoroughly. On July 27, 2011, he pulled a pair of back-to-back trades, first acquiring P Edwin Jackson and 3B Mark Teahen from the Chicago White Sox in return for Ps Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart, then immediately flipping Jackson to the St. Louis Cardinals along with Marc Rzepczynski, Octavio Dotel and Corey Patterson to obtain OF Colby Rasmus, also landing Ps Brian Tallet, Trever Miller and P.J. Walters in the process. On July 20, 2012, he pulled a huge trade with the Houston Astros, involving 10 players. The Jays acquired Ps J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter while sending Francisco Cordero, Ben Francisco and five minor league prospects to Houston. Four months later, on November 13th, he made a 12-player trade with the Miami Marlins, getting a haul of veterans (SS Jose Reyes, Ps Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, C John Buck and IF/OF Emilio Bonifacio) in return for mainly younger players (IFs Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, P Henderson Alvarez and C Jeff Mathis, and three more minor league prospects, Justin Nicolino, Anthony Desclafani and Jake Marisnick). The deal was so huge and controversial that it required thorough review by the Commissioner's office, which was only granted on November 19th. He then made more unexpected moves that off-season, first signing disgraced OF Melky Cabrera to a two-year free agent contract, and then plunging into the Jays' past to find their new manager, bringing back John Gibbons for the job. He was not done yet, however, as on December 16th, he pried Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey from the New York Mets, along with catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas; in return, he sent the recently acquired John Buck to the Mets, as well as two top prospects, C Travis d'Arnaud and P Noah Syndergaard, as well as a minor league pitcher Wuilmer Becerra. One day later, he signed Dickey to a two-year extension worth $25 million, making the trade official. These deals indicated that Anthopoulos was not afraid to trade young players, to deal a lot of marginal talent in order to secure one player of real interest, like Rasmus, Happ or Dickey, or to take on salary in the case of the Miami and New York deals.

In spite of all the deals the Blue Jays still did not manage to reach the postseason in 2013 and 2014, although they did have a solid first half the second year before falling off the pace and finishing well behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles. More deals followed before the 2015 season, including the acquisition of 3B Josh Donaldson in a trade with the Oakland Athletics and the signing of free agent C Russell Martin. However, the season almost was lost in spring training because of two major injuries, one to OF Michael Saunders, who was counted on to start in left field, and the other to young starting pitcher Marcus Stroman. The Blue Jays sputtered as a result, but kept close to the New York Yankees, in part because Donaldson was playing at an MVP level and the team's other two sluggers, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion were both healthy. At the trading deadline, he decided to go all in, trading SS Jose Reyes to the Colorado Rockies for Troy Tulowitzki and a package of young pitchers to the Detroit Tigers for ace starter David Price. The team caught fire after the deal, and quickly made up ground on the Yankees, catching them at the end of August and finishing well in front of them to make the postseason for the first time since 1993. They then eliminated the Texas Rangers after falling behind, two games to none, in the Division Series before bowing to the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS. Anthopoulos was widely praised for his aggressive moves that turned a good but flawed team into a juggernaut, but it emerged shortly after the Jays' elimination that things were not right between him and new team President Mark Shapiro. His contract had come to an end, and the two were unable to agree on an extension, leading to Alex's departure from the team on October 29th.

On January 12, 2016, Alex joined the Los Angeles Dodgers organization as Vice-President of baseball operations, reporting to team President Andrew Freedman and working alongside GM Farhan Zaidi. On November 13, 2017, he was hired by the Atlanta Braves to replace General manager John Coppolella who had been forced to resign a few weeks earlier because of a rules breach on the international signing market. He was also given the title of Vice-President for Baseball Operations. The Commissioner's sanctions against the Braves were announced on November 21st, and they were heavy: Coppolella was issued a lifetime ban and his former deputy, Gordon Blakeley a one-year suspension. Twelve international prospects signed by the Braves during the period under investigation were declare free agents, and their ability to sign anyone on the international market for the next two years was greatly hampered, as they were prevented from signing anyone to any bonus higher than $10,000 in 2018-19 and had their bonus pool cut by half the following year, in addition to surrendering a third-round pick in the 2018 amateur draft. So Anthopoulos was inheriting an organization that was in effect prevented from signing anyone on the international market for a three-year period, a huge blow in an era when international signings were a huge part of all teams' player development efforts.

In spite of the fetters placed on him due to his predecessor's breaking of rules, Anthopoulos got off to a very successful start with the Braves, as they won a division title in both 2018 and 2019, although these were followed both years by exits from the postseason at the Division Series stage. He was not as much into making blockbuster trades as he had been with the Jays, but was aggressive in addressing his team's bullpen woes at the trading deadline in 2019, acquiring both Mark Melancon and Shane Greene. He also took advantage of inefficiencies in the free agent market to sign Dallas Keuchel on the cheap after the amateur draft that year. But it was also his remarks on the free agent market that got him in trouble after the season, as the MLBPA objected to a statement he had made to reporters on November 5th: "Every day you get more information. And we’ve had time to connect with 27 of the clubs – obviously the Astros and (Nationals) being in the World Series, they were tied up – but we had a chance to get a sense of what the other clubs are going to look to do in free agency, who might be available in trades." The Players' Association saw this as evidence of collusion aimed at depressing the free agent market and said it had launched an investigation. In February 2020, he was promoted to President of Baseball Operations for the Braves and his contract was extended until 2024.

In 2021, his agressive work as GM was key to the Braves winning a World Series title for the first time since 1995. The team started off the season with an outfield of Ronald Acuna, Cristian Pache and Marcell Ozuna, but by early July, all three were gone: Acuna because of a torn ACL, Pache was back in the minors after failing to hit, and Ozuna was suspended undefinitely due to allegations of domestic violence. The Braves were making do with a makeshift outfield and playing below .500. That's when Alex went to work acquiring four solid outfielders in the span of four weeks in July - and hardly giving up anything of value in the process. Joc Pederson, Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler and Adam Duvall all were key contributors down the stretch and in the postseason, with Rosario being named MVP of the NLCS and Soler World Series MVP. Ironically, he was unable to join the team for the on-field celebrations, having tested positive for COVID-19 a couple of days earlier and staying confined at home as a result.

He studied economics at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, although he left without completing his degree.

Preceded by
J.P. Ricciardi
Toronto Blue Jays General Manager
Succeeded by
Tony LaCava
Preceded by
John Coppolella
Atlanta Braves General Manager
Succeeded by

Further Reading[edit]

  • "Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos misses World Series celebration after positive COVID-19 test", Yahoo! Sports, November 3, 2021. [1]
  • Mark Bowman: "Braves introduce Anthopoulos as new GM, VP", November 13, 2017. [2]
  • Mark Bowman: "Anthopoulos humbly embraces new challenge: Braves GM to harness expertise of front office while settling into role",, November 14, 2017. [3]
  • Mark Bowman: "Anthopoulos signs extension with Atlanta through 2031",, January 12, 2024. [4]
  • Bob Nightengale: "MLBPA launches investigation into Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos after free agency comments", USA Today, November 6, 2019. [5]
  • Tracy Ringolsby: "Anthopoulos gets Schuerholz-like opportunity: Braves GM joins talent-rich organization, just as HOF exec did 27 years ago",, November 13, 2017. [6]
  • Kevin Spain and Gabe Lacques: "MLB hammers Atlanta Braves: Former GM Coppolella banned for life, 12 prospects now free agents", USA Today Sports, November 21, 2017. [7]
  • Gregory Strong: "No Regrets: Anthopoulos content with decision, expects to be working next month", The Canadian Press, December 22, 2015. [8]


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