Vaughn Grissom was sent down to Triple-A by the Atlanta Braves, but not because of injury.
Atlanta Braves fans are still trying to wrap their heads around the front office gaslighting Vaughn Grissom into thinking he would be the Opening Day starter at shortstop.
After punting on Marietta native Dansby Swanson in his free agency, Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos attempted to soften the blow by saying Grissom had a real shot at replacing him at short for Opening Day. It was seen as Grissom’s job to lose in a battle with the veteran Orlando Arcia. Then, it looked like it would be Grissom vs. top prospect Braden Shewmake. Then … it hit the fan.
On Monday evening, Grissom AND Shewmake were optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett with Arcia winning the starting job and Ehire Adrianza getting the utility man role. Adrianza was out of options, so sending Grissom and Shewmake down was, in theory, justified. However, Braves Country is still in rare form trying to process all this. There were also rumors of a major injury.
Peter Gammons dropped a bombshell on Tuesday morning that Grissom may have a hernia.
Justin Toscano of the AJC said Braves skipper Brian Snitker never mentioned such an injury.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com pointed out that Grissom played nine innings in Monday’s game.
He also went on to say that the MLBPA does not take kindly to optioning players with injuries.
Gammons may have had bad intel, but Bowman and Toscano are both not buying Grissom’s injury.
Truth be told, it is still utterly shocking that Anthopoulos decided to go with Arcia over him.
Atlanta Braves fans should not panic over Vaughn Grissom being sent down
When news of this broke, I was as perplexed as you were. I was coming back from a run and could not believe what I saw. I mean, I wrote about it earlier in the day based on what David O’Brien hinted at previously. I was of the belief that it was going to end up being Grissom and Snitker really wanted to see what he had in Shewmake. This truly feels like an Anthopoulos decision here.
Look. I have never had any reason not to trust Anthopoulos. He brought my Braves a World Series championship only two years ago. Every front office decision he has made has been calculated and methodical, even if I or the rest of Braves Country don’t always understand the logic behind it. Not even 24 hours since news of Grissom’s demotion first broke, I have come to this major conclusion.
It is pretty clear that Anthopoulos and Snitker really like what this team’s offense is capable of. Matt Olson has been on a tear in Spring Training, and there could be as many as four NL MVP candidates in the starting lineup. Where I think the managers are unified is that they are willing to take less offense out of a major defensive-laden position like shortstop, at least for a few weeks.
It is very apparent how much the Braves’ brass likes Adrianza. We as Atlanta fans may not truly understand his value, but the team does. Plus, it is not like Arcia is worthless at the plate either. He can bring the lumber like Grissom can. Shewmake may not have a big-league bat just yet, and Grissom still needs refinement with the glove. It is why they will start the year out with Gwinnett.
Truth be told, Grissom will not be spending the bulk of the season down in Triple-A. He will be recalled at some point down the line. We should also expect Shewmake to make his debut with the big-league club in the not-too-distant future. I mean, he nearly made the Opening Day roster. Regardless, Braves Country just needs to accept that Arcia will play short and bat around seventh.
Atlanta can afford to take its time in allowing prospects like Grissom and Shewmake to develop.