Why does it make sense for the Atlanta Braves to keep Arcia and Adrianza instead of Grissom or Shewmake?
Adrianza and Arcia aren’t superstars but they are proven veterans at one of the most difficult defensive positions in the major leagues. When you see a player put up positive defensive runs saved at shortstop, that means they saved approximately that many runs more than the average major-league shortstop. Keep that in mind, because the average major-league shortstop is pretty dadgum good.
Adrianza doesn’t have any options left. If the Braves wanted to make room for Shewmake or Grissom out of camp, it meant they had to release Adrianza, reducing their options throughout the season.
The Braves just didn’t have the confidence they needed in Grissom or Shewmake to takeover at shortstop. They still want to see more of Grissom’s glovework and they want to see if Shewmake’s bat can sustain production over a larger sample size.
Both of these guys have bright futures and long talks with Brian Snitker when they got the news. It was upbeat, optimistic, and focused on getting them the reps they need in Triple-A. They need the reps.
Now, if we get a month into the season and Adrianza or Arcia get hurt, we feel pretty good about our options at short.
What if the Braves had gone with Vaughn Grissom on Opening Day?
Let’s pretend the Braves had named Grissom their Opening Day shortstop. That means we say goodbye to Adrianza and some other team would likely sweep him up. So, he’s gone.
In one scenario, Grissom wins the MVP and none of these other scenarios matter. In other scenarios, he struggles. Perhaps he gets sent back down. Now the Braves are stuck with Arcia and nothing. Perhaps they bring Shewmake up at that point, but is he ready? We don’t know. Do they bring up some other low-level prospect just to be a warm body?
Same scenario should Grissom get hurt. The Braves are happy to start the season with two veterans and plenty of options. They are allowing the youngsters the time they need to continue their development. We will see one or both of Grissom or Shewmake by the end of the year. The Braves are playing this smart, out of the game.