2. Rebuilding The Bullpen
During the Braves rebuild, before AA came to Atlanta, Coppolella traded Craig Kimbrel to the San Diego Pardes in 2015. Since that time, the Braves bullpen has been particularly up and down. There were years of Jason Grilli and Jim Johnson. Then, it was Adroys Vizcaino and A.J. Minter. However, the 2019 season was the low point for the Braves bullpen since Anthopoulos took charge.
Last season, the Braves bullpen fell apart almost immediately. Vizcaino was traded before the season started, leaving A.J. Minter as the closer. Minter proceeded to fall apart before the summer even started, notching an ERA over 10 at one point of the season. After Minter didn’t work out, it was Luke Jackson’s turn. We all remember white-knuckling our way through all of Luke’s performances. The Braves needed reinforcements.
Knowing the Braves were in desperate need of bullpen help, Alex Anthopoulos reshaped the Braves bullpen in the course of two days. AA traded for Chris Martin from the Rangers. The next day, Shane Greene and Mark Melancon were added the next day. In two days, the Braves had a completely new bullpen that was reliable for the stretch run of last season.
AA wasn’t done either. The Braves would go on to resign Chris Martin in the offseason. AA would continue to poach from the San Francisco Giants bullpen, this time signing Will Smith. Darren O’Day was also added. Coming into the 2020 season, the Braves have arguably the best bullpen in all of baseball.