The Braves have a massive hole at shortstop that must be filled in free agency or a trade. There’s no way anybody in the organization could fill the gigantic shoes left by Dansby Swanson. Or could they…
Apparently, Alex Anthopoulos isn’t completely ruling it out. Here’s what Braves beat reporter Mark Bowman had to say in a recent piece regarding Orlando Arcia or Vaughn Grissom potentially taking over for Swanson:
While it seems more likely the Braves would go for an external option if Swanson were to exit, Anthopoulos pointed out Orlando Arcia was the Brewers’ everyday shortstop just a few years ago. He also said there may reach a point when Vaughn Grissom might be deemed ready to be an everyday shortstop at the big league level.
The challenging aspect of the shortstop situation for the Braves is there are four elite free agents, but it’s very possible all four of them are out of Atlanta’s price range. After those four guys, there aren’t many inspiring options available. At that point, it might be wise to just ride with Orlando Arcia until Vaughn Grissom is deemed ready. I don’t see that being anytime soon, but third base coach Ron Washington is confident Grissom will eventually be an everyday shortstop.
“I know in talking to (Braves third base and infield coach) Ron Washington, he really has belief that he will develop into an everyday defensive shortstop,” Anthopoulos said, via Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “Obviously we believe in the bat.”
Grissom showed last season he has the tools to be a high-level player at the major-league level. He can hit for average, hit for power, has speed and the potential to be very good defensively. However, he was undoubtedly exposed at the end of last year at the plate, and scouts have always wondered whether he could play shortstop at the top level. Expecting him to do so as early as next season is far-fetched, but it doesn’t mean the Braves don’t believe Grissom can do it in the future.
There is a world where the bidding for the top four shortstops gets way out of hand, and the Braves are forced to pivot. It’s not a world I hope to live in, but acting like it isn’t a possibility is nothing more than denial. The Braves have money to spend, but there are several teams with much bigger wallets — the Phillies, Dodgers, Yankees, and Red Sox, to name a few — that are in the market for a shortstop, which could make things challenging for Alex Anthopoulos.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire