The MLB offseason is going to have a ton of movement from its biggest stars, and the Braves are sure to be involved once again. Last winter, the club was embroiled in rumors surrounding Freddie Freeman; Braves Country should be prepared for something similar to unfold with Dansby Swanson. Atlanta’s biggest hole is undoubtedly at shortstop, and Swanson is the most obvious candidate. Or is he?
The shortstop free agent class is loaded with talent. Carlos Correa is going to reset the market; Trae Turner will likely earn a similar AAV, and Xander Bogaerts won’t be too far behind. Despite never really giving out those incredible lucrative deals, the Braves are printing money and have been adamant about being a top-five payroll in baseball.
If Alex Anthopoulos didn’t want to pay one of those stars, he could always trade for a replacement. Willy Adames is a potential candidate in that scenario, and AA showed last offseason he’d be willing to pull the trigger on a deal like that.
However, the most recent reports suggest an entirely different picture. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, it’s essentially Dansby Swanson or bust for the Braves. Rosenthal said that if Atlanta doesn’t sign Swanson, they’ll probably be out of the picture for Turner, Correa, and Bogaerts. The veteran reporter added that’s why Anthopoulos mentioned Orlando Arcia and Vaughn Grissom as internal options.
Personally, I wouldn’t be too keen on turning to either of those players, especially in this World Series window. However, if anyone can make you feel better about Grissom, in particular, it’s Ron Washington.
“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 exploded on the scene as a rookie; he showed he’s capable of hitting for power, average, and playing above-average defense. However, like many rookies, he hit a wall. Grissom struggled at the plate to end the year, which is why Arcia started most of the games during the playoffs. I guess I can’t say I’d be shocked anymore if the club decided to roll with Arcia until Grissom is ready, but I sure wouldn’t like the decision.
The Phillies, Dodgers, Yankees, and Red Sox are all big spenders. They could very easily start a bidding war that the Braves don’t see themselves winning, and that scenario becomes a reality. It’s not a world I want to live in, but it’s certainly possible.
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