Could the Braves fill Dansby Swanson’s void internally?

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I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I thought I would address it in an article because so many people have asked questions regarding this situation. There’s a real chance Dansby Swanson heads elsewhere in free agency. I think the Braves will do everything they can to keep him within reason, and it appears Swanson is interested in returning. But we’ve seen this story before, and it didn’t play out in the Braves’ favor. So if Swanson does sign with another team, is it possible the Braves stick with their internal options to fill the void?

In short — absolutely freaking not, and when I say that, I mean zero percent chance. 

Internally, the Braves have three options who could possibly take over at shortstop, but none of them are inspiring. Braden Shewmake is a top-ten prospect in the organization, but that’s not saying much, considering the Braves have one of the weaker farm systems in baseball. He struggled in the minors again in 2022 and isn’t anywhere close to being major league-ready.

A couple of months ago, Vaughn Grissom looked like he just might be prepared to take the reins from Swanson, but he showed down the stretch and into the playoffs that he isn’t ready to be an everyday player at the major-league level. I expect Grissom to begin next season in AAA, and we could see him at some point if he shows he can handle the upper level of the minors. There’s no way the Braves will go into next season with him as the primary option at shortstop. He wasn’t even starting during the playoffs.

Of the three options, the only one that makes a shred of sense is Orlando Arcia. He’s at least proven he can handle the position defensively, and he performed admirably when asked to fill in for Ozzie Albies this season. Still, I highly doubt the Braves are looking to downgrade that severely at one of the most important positions on the diamond in the middle of their championship window.

Okay, maybe a zero percent chance is slightly overzealous. There is a situation where I could see the Braves rolling with Arcia and spending their money elsewhere, but I find it highly unlikely. Once everyone exercises their opt-outs, four All-Star shortstops will be free agents — Dansby Swanson, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, and Carlos Correa. I expect the Braves to sign one of those marquee free agents, but if they don’t, look for them to explore the trade market for a stopgap option.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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