10:03 am ET: Why not start the day with a little trade discussion from the Braves latest deal. It's the only significant news in the early stages of the winter meetings and we've learned a bit more about the workings of the deal in the past 24 hours.
I joined Steak Shapiro and Sandra Golden on The Steakhouse on 92-9 The Game this morning to chat about the Kelenic deal and what else the Braves need and want to accomplish at the meetings and this winter in general.
My wedding was also discussed, because that was the highlight of my offseason.
11:01 am ET: Managerial media session resumed with the new Cleveland Guardians skipper Stephen Vogt leading things off. A former All-Star catcher and beloved teammate across a 10-year career, Vogt played for the Braves during the summer of 2021 before suffering a season-ending injury. Despite that, he spent a lot time around the club and accompanied them on the road in the postseason and their World Series victory in Houston.a
Vogt said he played under at least eight of the current major league manager, many of whom took time during his playing career to work with him and pull back the curtain on the managerial duties and processes. In addition to his time behind the plate, working with pitching staffs, and his own individual successes and struggles, Vogt possesses and unique and well-rounded skillset as he takes over in Cleveland after Terry Francona's retirement.
But asked why he wanted this job, Vogt had a great answer:
"I love baseball. This game has given my family and me everything. It's been my first love on the planet Earth besides my family my whole life. I know I'm a leader. I know I can get the best out of the people around me.
I don't know everything. I've never pretended to know everything. I want a lot of smart people around me to help. I'm really good at leading people, and I want to help a group of guys go out there and win a World Series. I feel like I've got a good opportunity to do that here in Cleveland and that's why I want to do this."
Braves manager Brian Snitker was also on hand to discuss the winter thus far. He is excited to see what Jarred Kelenic will do for Atlanta, referring to him as a "tooled up" kid and someone who could definitely benefit from the Braves' hitting approach while working with Kevin Seitzer and his staff.
Speaking of which, Snitker also mentioned they are in the process of interviewing for the three coaching staff vacancies created when Ron Washington, Eric Young Sr. and Drew French each accepted jobs with new teams. Washington is back in the manager's seat and took Young to the Angels with him while French will join the Orioles as their pitching coach.
Snitker discussed the search for new members of his coaching staff:
"We're in discussions and doing our due diligence. We don't feel pressured to do anything. It's just like the players that we lost. These guys were -- all three of them were very beneficial in our success, but I just always feel like we're not ever -- we've created a situation where we're not defined by one player, one coach. We're going to fill those voids. It will still continue to be really good."
The Braves have made a lot of moves this winter, perhaps more than any team in MLB. With more time to work on the roster and more possibilities out there for Alex Anthopoulos to explore, Snitker said he's comfortable with where the team is as they await the start of spring training in just over two months.
"I think you can always probably improve or make changes that are beneficial to you. If we went to Spring Training tomorrow, I would feel really good about who we got in tow right now. I feel really good about our team again. And this is a group of driven guys. I say the only thing Alex is ever guilty of is working tirelessly to make this thing better."
I'll share my exclusive interview with Brian Snitker on the upcoming From The Diamond episode, so be sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
5:07 pm ET: Alex Anthopoulos spoke to the media for about 20 minutes, updating the team's current focus after pulling off a trade to begin the Winter Meetings on Sunday. He was also shooting down some of the speculation and rumors surrounding the Braves.
Anthopoulos revealed Atlanta was working to acquire Aaron Bummer at the trade deadline and finally got that deal done this winter. Meanwhile, Kelenic was the lone position player that the Braves were actively targeting so far this winter.
Could they pursue someone else? Yes. But the the majority of rumors connecting Atlanta to multiple players on and off the board to this point haven't aligned with who the team has actually been working to acquire this winter.
"Obviously, I know a ton gets put out there about us. I can tell you all off season, Aaron Bummer was a specific target. We weren’t looking for a left-handed reliever, because we had talked to the White Sox about Aaron Bummer during the trade deadline. We tried really hard to get him at the trade deadline and we couldn’t get it done. That was what we worked on.
We didn't work on left field; we worked on Jarred Kelenic. That's all that we worked on. That's the only position player that we worked on, and we’ve obviously worked on starter.
Anyone speculating anything beyond that is someone who decided to make stuff up. That’s it. We worked on Bummer specifically. We worked on Kelenic specifically. And then we worked on a variety of starters, both trade and free agency. But that’s been the offseason.
Any speculation, rumor, or anything else that we’ve worked on positions outside of that is completely fabricated, completely false, and completely made up.”
When asked if the Braves were interested in Shohei Ohtani by a member of the Japanese media, Anthopoulos declined to go into specifics about any free-agent player but stressed, again, that the only position player (meaning hitter) that the Braves pursued to this point has been Kelenic.
You may have gathered by now that Anthopoulos has been spending more time that he'd like trying to put some of the rumors and speculation to rest, with the Ohtani reports topping that list. That has become pretty evident in the past few days.
Much more to come from the Anthopoulos availability as we wind down Day 2 in Nashville.