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Choosing Orlando Arcia as their shortstop surprised and confused Atlanta Braves fans

The Atlanta Braves shocked fans by selecting Orlando Arcia as their starting shortstop.
The Atlanta Braves shocked fans by selecting Orlando Arcia as their starting shortstop. / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos had questions about Vaughn Grissom as a shortstop. / Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

What do the Atlanta Braves say?

The Atlanta Braves presented their fairytale rationale, faithfully reported by David O’Brien in a post for the Athletic.

"If they had kept Grissom or Shewmake. . . Adrianza, who was on a minor-league contract . . . could opt for free agency rather than accept a minor-league assignment. Other teams are looking for players with Adrianza’s versatility and experience at this point in spring training."

Excuse me? The official Braves line is that they were so worried about losing Ehire Adrianza they chose to demote Grissom and Shewmake. Maybe I missed something.

Nope, it’s as I remembered. Adrianza is a 33-year-old journeyman infielder with a career line of .239/.309/.354/.663, who had 209 PA in 109 games for the Braves in 2021. The team let him walk in 2021, traded for him at the deadline in 2022, and brought him back on a Minor League deal after Swanson signed with the Cubs. But there’s no reason to believe he’d leave the team that earned him a ring in search of a better deal or that a better deal would pop up if he did.

A Rock, The Atlanta Braves, and a Hard Place

We know that AA had doubts about Grissom as an everyday shortstop because he said so.

"“I can see how the scouting community might have questions about Vaughn. I had questions about Vaughn when I first saw him.”"

Alex Anthopoulos

AA went on to say that Ron Washington believed he could turn Grissom into a Major League shortstop. That’s true enough, but Washington didn’t say he could do it in a few days of work over the winter.

The Atlanta Braves were in a rough spot. The team was never going to lay out the kind of money Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, or Xander Bogaerts wanted, and couldn’t sign Swanson. I’m sure Anthopoulos searched the trade market for a quality shortstop, but none were available at a cost the Braves Minor League system could pay.

The team had no choice except to hope one of their lottery tickets was a winner.