One under the radar area the Braves should upgrade

MLB: JUN 08 Mets at Braves

The Braves 2023 campaign ended eerily similar to the way their 2022 season did. Not only did they lose to the Wild Card Philadelphia Phillies following a first-round bye, but the parallels in the two series were uncanny. The Braves split in Atlanta and then traveled to Philadelphia where their bats never got going.

It’s a tough pill to swallow for everyone involved in the organization and fans alike, but it also serves as a reminder for Alex Anthopoulos that adjustments must be made if the Braves want to return to the World Series.

There will be a lot of talk about the rotation; that will be the primary focus of the offseason, especially if Charlie Morton decides to retire. The bullpen also needs bolstering, and left field is currently open, but Alex Anthopoulos has shown us in the past he isn’t afraid to get creative in attempting to upgrade the roster. Sean Murphy was a perfect example of that a year ago, and the Braves could attempt to do something similar this offseason at shortstop.

Orlando Arcia was a breath of fresh air for most of the season. He unexpectedly won the starting job out of Spring Training and parlayed it into his first All-Star appearance, but his second half performance was much more in line with the player he has been his entire career. Arcia did mash 10 homers after the All-Star break, but he also only reached base at a .297 clip, leading to a .713 OPS. And if you go even further back, he hit .222 with a .662 OPS over his last 85 games.

Arcia may be a better offensive player than he was in Milwaukee, but it’s not by a significant amount. His calling card remains his defense and he’s probably better suited as a utility piece, not an everyday player. The Braves could choose to roll with the combination of him, Nicky Lopez, and Vaughn Grissom again in 2024, but there’s undoubtedly room for improvement at the position.

I would be shocked if Alex Anthopoulos didn’t at least attempt to bring in a more proven commodity. The issue is there aren’t a lot of inspiring options in free agency, and the Braves don’t have a lot of valuable prospects to move in a trade. Acquiring a starting-caliber shortstop will be easier said than done, but it could be one of the focuses of the offseason.

Photo: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire


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