Braves explanation for shortstop decision comes up short

The Braves have a reason for sending Vaughn Grissom and Braden Shewmake down while running with Orlando Arcia shortstop. It’s just not a good one.

Braves fans who thought they had a handle on the shortstop battle in spring training got a huge shock on Monday when news dropped that neither Vaughn Grissom nor Braden Shewmake would be on the Opening Day roster.

Grissom and Shewmake were supposed to be neck-and-neck to replace Dansby Swanson as Atlanta’s fulltime shortstop. Instead, they’re both getting sent down to Triple-A.

Orlando Arcia is now the Braves starting shortstop with utility man Ehire Adrianza backing him up.

What are the Braves thinking? David O’Brien of The Athletic gave an explanation from the team’s point of view.

“Braves didn’t want to lose any depth, which they would have if they had kept Arcia as utility — would’ve lost Adrianza. Considering how many they needed to get through season at 2B in ’22, they wanted to keep Adrianza (has no options) and let kids get more time at Triple A,” O’Brien tweeted.

Braves shortstop explanation makes sense but doesn’t justify the move

Ok….sure. I mean, the logic is there. Keeping Adrianza off the Opening Day roster would mean losing him. And having more infield depth with him on the roster is good in theory.

But it’s still a questionable move.

Adrianza is not a special player. He’s nice depth but not so irreplaceable that Atlanta couldn’t find someone similar on the waiver wire. The depth he provides isn’t worth more than the potential gains a prospect like Grissom or Shewmake could offer. And Arcia isn’t a good enough shortstop positionally or at the plate to truly say they’re replacing Swanson’s impact.

It’s especially frustrating because Grissom has experience at second base. So if second base depth is what they’re worried about, it would seem they could have had it anyways.

This is a step back for Atlanta, there’s no doubt about it. And for fans who were eager to see someone like Grissom or Shewmake on Opening Day, the plan couldn’t be more lame.

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