The Braves have started training their shortstop in the making, Vaughn Grissom, just in case Dansby Swanson leaves in free agency.
In back-to-back offseasons, Atlanta could lose Freddie Freeman and now Dansby Swanson, both of whom were instrumental in their 2021 World Series run. Freeman signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, of course.
As for Swanson, he’s hoping to cash in on a breakout season — his first All-Star campaign to boot — and earn his largest payday to date. Swanson also has the same agent Freeman did when he left the Braves organization. It’s not looking promising for Alex Anthopoulos and Co.
Swanson is a former No. 1 overall pick. He came up through the ranks as a Brave, and it would be odd to see him in any other uniform. But, as fans found out with Freeman, money can make all the difference.
Just in case they do lose Swanson, the Braves are already preparing their backup plan.
Braves prepare Vaughn Grissom to replace Dansby Swanson
Vaughn Grissom is just 21 years old and coming off his first MLB service time. Asking him to replace Dansby Swanson in full would be a tall order, but it might be the reality in a few short months.
Just in case, Grissom is in New Orleans, putting in some offseason work with Braves coach Ron Washington.
“I don’t think Dansby is replaceable unless they go get a superstar,” Washington said this week, per The Athletic (subscription required). “But we can handle the position. We’ve got (Orlando) Arcia, and we’ve got Grissom — that kid is getting better and better every day. He’s here in New Orleans right now, and I’m telling you, he’s improving big-time.”
Washington makes a valid point — there is no replacing Swanson, at least not yet. Grissom wouldn’t be asked to take on the load on his own. It’s very possible the Braves could sign another shortstop, or even begin the season with Orlando Arcia at the position. But, eventually, Grissom will be asked to take on more responsibility.
What does that mean for Swanson?
Anthopoulos and the front office would be dumb not to consider the possibility of Swanson leaving. To have a backup plan ready is smart business for a Braves organization which ranks as one of the better front offices in the entire sport.