Braves Shortstop Options In FA And Trades After Losing Swanson
Atlanta lost a key player when Dansby Swanson signed with the Chicago Cubs yesterday. The Braves shortstop options in free agency dwindled down to just Elvis Andrus and Jose Iglesias for veteran signings. Neither player performed at Swanson’s level last season, so filling the void he leaves may have to come in house.
The reason the team may need to look at internal options to replace their All-Star shortstop is because they sent a number of their best prospects to the Oakland A’s. Trading for a shortstop, such as the Milwuakee Brewers Willy Adames, becomes much harder. Yes, Sean Murphy upgrades the teams defense as a catcher, but Swanson is solid defensively as well. The Braves gained a good glove only to lose one at another important position.
What Losing Swanson Means For Atlanta, Beyond His Play
Dansby Swanson displayed excellent power for a shortstop, particularly the last two seasons. Not only that but he proved to be a clutch hitter for the team as well. From the seventh inning on Swanson he came through for the Braves, even when he struggled at the plate earlier in his career.
A player who led by example on the field, Swanson also became a leader in the locker room as well. Who fills that void now for Atlanta? Ozzie Albies, coming off an injury plagued year last season, is known to be an upbeat presence, on and off the field. Perhaps Adam Duvall, also looking to bounce back from injury, can be more vocal as well. Either way someone must step forward after Atlanta two clubhouse leaders the past two off seasons. Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman was known to be an important veteran presence for the Braves.
Braves Shortstop Options On Their Roster
Vaughn Grissom started out well replacing Albies at second base, especially on offense. How much he improves defensively this off season may determine how much he plays, especially early in the season. The bad news for Atlanta: shortstop, unlike second base, is not his natural position. Like most young players Grissom must adjust at the plate as well. Pitchers adjusted quickly against him, limiting his opportunities later in the season and postseason.
Orlando Arcia represents the opposite end of the spectrum from Grissom. Arcia may be a late inning defensive replacement, if Grissom produces offensively. He lack’s Swanson’s range as a defender, but he makes the routine plays. The question becomes whether or not their platoon replaces Swanson’s production.
Left Field, In Addition To Shortstop, Now Is A Question For Atlanta
Not only might the Braves need a platoon to equal Swanson’s production, but the club needs Eddie Rosario to be the player he was in the 2021 playoffs. Rosario’s eye issue led to his drop off at the plate, and he never fully recovered after his surgery. Once again the question will be if Atlanta platoons him with Adam Duvall, using Duvall as a bat off the bench and for defense in late innings.
With two major holes to find answers for Atlanta needs for Albies, Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson, and Murphy to carry a significant offensive load. Last year’s team proved deep offensively, which helped because Acuna needed time to figure what he could do coming off his ACL injury. Who produces runs for the team after losing a such a clutch player as Swanson will be key to the Braves making the playoffs again.