Braves: Could Vaughn Grissom be used as trade bait?

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Coming into the season, Vaughn Grissom was expected by most to assume the role as the team’s starting shortstop following the departure of Dansby Swanson. It didn’t turn out that way, despite Grissom hitting nearly .400 during Spring Training. The Braves didn’t trust his glove, choosing to roll with the veteran in Orlando Arcia, and now it is overwhelmingly obvious why they decided to go in the direction that they did.

Grissom cannot play shortstop at the major-league level right now. He’s not just a below average defensive player; he might be the worst defensive shortstop in the league. His bat has been fine; he has the ability to hit around .300 in the future, but his lack of power is worrisome if he can’t prove to be a competent shortstop.

What I mean by that is Grissom’s offense profiles above average for shortstop, where defense is the top priority. However, in left field or as a designated hitter, it would be well-below average.

So, for Braves fans clamoring for the organization to move Grissom to left field once he goes back to Gwinnett — which is inevitable when Arcia returns — that’s not the right move. He’s likely never going to have enough power to warrant starting in left field, where there’s also a good chance he’s below average defensively, given it is not his natural position.

I was open to the idea of Vaughn Grissom playing in the outfield this season because of how poorly Rosario and Ozuna were playing. Now, that they’ve turned it around, that’s not the best option for the team, and it’s certainly not the best option in the future.

Grissom’s value to the Braves stems from his offensive ability as an infielder, and in the Braves case, that’s shortstop because the rest of the infield is locked up for the foreseeable future. If Grissom can’t handle those duties defensively, and the Braves don’t see it being a possibility sooner rather than later, they have to consider using him as the centerpiece of a trade if they want to make a big move at the deadline or this offseason.

No matter where you look, the Braves have one of the worst farm systems in baseball. They don’t have the prospect capital to swing for the fences, but Vaughn Grissom is a piece that could interest a lot of teams. In Atlanta, he has to play shortstop. But elsewhere, he could be featured at second base, third base, or as a utility piece.

Grissom is still just 22-years-old. By no means am I saying the Braves should give up on him, but Orlando Arcia has proven to be a reliable starter, and Braden Shewmake has been tearing it up on the farm. Their ceilings may not be as high as Grissom offensively, but both are capable of manning the shortstop position defensively, which is much more important when considering the long-term outlook of the Braves.

If Alex Anthopoulos and company don’t feel Grissom can ever get to that level with the glove, there’s a very good chance he’s eventually moved when the Braves need to make a trade.

Photo: John Adams/Icon Sportswire`

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