SAN DIEGO — If Dansby Swanson and the Braves can’t come to a contract agreement this offseason, the team’s shortstop situation still would not be resolved. The Braves would face a major question.
Do they sign a shortstop or trade for one, or are they better off with Vaughn Grissom and Orlando Arcia at the position?
Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos’ answer dictates his work over the remainder of the offseason.
“I think it’s just the opportunity cost, right?” he said when asked how to weigh those options. “If you’re making a trade, who’s going out the door? Weighing that against what your internal options are. And if you’re signing a player, what dollars are you committing currently and down the road?
“Hopefully you have alternatives. And that’s what you weigh. And you just ultimately try to make a decision that you feel makes the most sense short term, long term, and that’s the nature of every decision we make in these jobs.”
Let’s start with this: The Braves could re-sign Swanson, who is a terrific fit for their club. A reunion seemingly makes the most sense for both sides. On the record, Swanson has stated his desire to stay in Atlanta, and the Braves have publicly said they want to keep him.
But if the Braves aren’t willing to meet Swanson’s price and the sides don’t come to an agreement? Well, then the Braves likely will need a new shortstop.
They can go multiple directions to fill the need. There might not be one right answer because no one knows how the future will play out.
Internally, Grissom and Arcia provide an interesting combination. Perhaps the Braves give Grissom, who will turn 22 on Jan. 5, an opportunity to become the team’s shortstop of the future. In that case, Arcia, whom the Braves have praised, could serve as somewhat of a safety net if Grissom needs time to adjust and struggles.
Externally, Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa are on the board. A fair question: If the Braves don’t feel comfortable matching Swanson’s price, would they pay even more for either of those two?