The Braves are going to be more active than a lot of people expect this offseason. A second straight defeat in the postseason is unacceptable, and acting as if there isn’t something lacking would be gross oversight. Major changes don’t need to be made; this core is what it is, and it’s good enough to win multiple World Series over the next five years. However, there is plenty of room for the Braves to improve on the margins.
How Alex Anthopoulos goes about doing it remains to be seen. He should have gobs of money available to spend. The Braves continued to sell out games at an alarming rate throughout the season, and The Battery is as alive as ever. Payroll has gone up with each passing season in recent years, as the team ownership continues to sets records for the highest payroll in franchise history.
Because of that, expect most of the Braves work this offseason to be done in free agency. But Anthopoulos is all about value, and oftentimes, the best value cannot be found on the open market. With the expanded playoffs, more clubs feels as if they have a chance than ever, creating endless bidding wars for the best free agents.
In recent years, Alex Anthopolous has been much more keen on acquiring top-end talent via trade (i.e. Matt Olson, Sean Murphy, and Joe Jimenez). That seems to be where he’s most comfortable operating. The problem with that this offseason is the Braves farm system is barren. There are not many prospects to deal, and the ones they do have they probably aren’t eager to trade. But one piece that will likely be mentioned trade rumors all offseason is Vaughn Grissom.
The Braves have hung onto Vaughn Grissom this long, so it’s evident they believe he carries significant value. They aren’t going to allow teams to lowball them in any potential deal. This is a guy who hit .330 with a .920 OPS in AAA at 22-years-old. For his age, he’s arguably the best offensive player in the International League.
The issue with Vaughn Grissom when it comes to the Braves is where he slots in. The organization clearly views him as an infielder. They haven’t once seriously attempted to try him out in left field, despite cries from the fan base, and there’s nowhere to put him in the infield.
I’m not sold on Orlando Arcia, but the Braves seem to be… for now. He’s also under contract for pennies, and even if he wasn’t, there have been no signs that Vaughn Grissom is ready to handle shortstop defensively.
Right now, Grissom is the odd man out, and unless injuries arise, that’s not going to change anytime soon. This is a major-league ready player without a place to play, making him the most likely Braves player to be traded. If Atlanta wants to make a significant deal this offseason, it probably can’t happen without Vaughn Grissom being included, which could be the best conclusion for both parties.
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