It’s the story of the offseason, so just get used to it. What will the Braves do at shortstop? The club could and probably should re-sign Dansby Swanson, even if it is a little rich for Alex Anthopoulos’ blood. He’s a leader in the clubhouse, an ironman of a player, and will become infinitely more valuable without the shift. Obviously, AA has been known not to let relationships get in the way of business. If the value isn’t there, don’t expect the Braves to work out a deal with Swanson’s agent, who also represented Freddie Freeman during last winter’s debacle.
If that were the case, the Braves could go in a few different directions. If the club is set on becoming a top-five payroll this season, signing one of the marquee free agent shortstops is an option. Still, at this point, it seems filling the void in-house would be the more likely outcome. Ron Washington and Anthopoulos have praised Vaughn Grissom and are preparing for a worst-case scenario, which is smart — hope for the best, prepare for the worst. A combination of Grissom and Orlando Arcia wouldn’t be all that bad unless AA didn’t spend the money initially allocated for Swanson anywhere else to upgrade the roster.
Still, a third option remains if Swanson walks, trading for a replacement. Last offseason, the Braves didn’t bat an eye and acquired Matt Olson in a blockbuster trade that ended all hopes of Freddie Freeman returning. And Braves Country should prepare for something similar this winter.
Now, the caveat to a hypothetical trade is the organization’s lack of prospects, but there’s a logjam of starting pitchers bouncing between the AAA and Major League levels. ‘You can never have enough pitching’ is a saying for a reason, but Atlanta could shop one or two of Kyle Muller, Bryce Elder, Ian Anderson, and Mike Soroka to acquire a future shortstop.
One that has been discussed at length here at the site is for the Brewers’ Willy Adames. The analysts on MLB Network believe Milwaukee will trade a significant player between now and the end of the Winter Meetings, which could be centered around their 27-year-old shortstop.
"The chances of them trading a significant player are pretty good between now and the end of The Winter Meetings."@jonmorosi explains why he anticipates the Brewers moving some pieces this offseason. #MLBNHotStove pic.twitter.com/6Eh6B0Z6Pw
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) December 1, 2022
He’s been a completely different player since joining the Brewers from the Rays, slashing .256/.325/.483/ with 51 home runs and 57 doubles over two seasons. A lot of Swanson’s draw is his defensive prowess, but Adames is no slouch. His 10 OAA ties him for sixth among all shortstops. He comes with a projected $9.2 million salary in 2023, and is under team control until 2025. The intention of acquiring him would obviously be to buy out Adames’ remaining arbitration years and extend him at a cost-effective rate compared to Swanson, just like the Braves did a year ago with Matt Olson.
Chase has already explored what a hypothetical trade would look like, and honestly, it’s a much more desirable outcome than turning to Grissom and Arica, in my opinion.
Braves get: Willy Adames
Photographer: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire