Friday, March 31, 2023

The Braves Part With Logic


You see, until a certain point I was understanding what the Braves were doing. And then something changed.

Last year, the Braves were making all the correct moves. All these huge pieces start getting extensions. Olson's locked up, Riley's locked up, Strider and Harris are locked up. Then the Sean Murphy trade happens, and on one hand, trading William Contreras is a risky move but Murphy means that the Braves now have two excellent catching options that they can platoon, and dArnaud can age gracefully and DH in favor of Marcell Ozuna, who was signed to an extension back when the Braves didn't know what they were doing with those. The Braves also used that opportunity to lock up Murphy for the foreseeable future, which I also agreed with.

And then at the end of Spring Training, the Braves made the single pettiest move I'd ever seen. 

So, as you'll recall last season, Ozzie Albies got injured and the Braves called up Vaughn Grissom to fill the hole in the infield. Grissom responded by hitting .291 in 41 games, with 41 hits, 18 RBIs and 5 homers, giving the team a security blanket heading into the postseason. During the offseason, Dansby Swanson leaves for Chicago, shortstop is open, Grissom is the favorite. Seeing as Harris, Strider and Olson got extensions with less than a season of work for the Braves, the assumption is that Grissom will be next.

And then in Spring Training, not only does Grissom have an excellent spring, but so does Braden Shewmake, another young infield prospect that's been gestating in the minors for longer and could also be ready for the majors. The fans love Grissom, the fans think Grissom's gonna inherit the team...and then the Braves demote both Grissom and Shewmake and sign Orlando Arcia to a 3-year contract.

So uh...needless to say, Braves fans did not like that.

Arcia is a fine infielder, he's done serviceable work for the Braves since coming over from Milwaukee, but that's the problem. Arcia is very much a replacement-level player, and extending him and giving him shortstop over Grissom, who had a 0.9 WAR in a little over a month of play, seems shortsighted and like they're deliberately trying to keep Grissom under his preliminary contract for as long as possible. If you're handing out money to Orlando Arcia, you're not cutting costs. 

It's also kinda shitty that Grissom still doesn't make Opening Day while the Braves are handing the fifth rotation spot, and probably a fourth seeing as Max Fried is now injured, to two people who've never played an MLB game before, in Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd. And then because of Raisel Iglesias getting injured, the Braves brought up Nick Anderson, who was already told he'd be starting the year in triple-A. So there's clearly a lot of bullshit lying about in terms of who the Braves think is more useful to the team.

I do think Grissom's eventually gonna be called up and take the majority of reps in short, but I don't see why they couldn't have just given him the position immediately. I thought he earned it last year. If they're playing the whole 'would he have earned it had Arcia not gotten injured' game, they're being petty and to seeing what we're all seeing. 

Also, as far as how all the long-term contracts are going, the catcher they signed for the rest of the decade went 0-for-5 last night while the catcher they're having DH was responsible for a late RBI double and went 4-for-5, so...yeah.

The Braves will probably even out and starting making decisions that make more sense to me, and it'll probably do them well in the long run, but I do wish they weren't thinking so petty with a young, promising player on the line. Jordan Walker and Anthony Volpe are in the bigs, you've got no excuse.

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