The Braves’ resolution to say no their $9MM membership possibility on Eddie Rosario created a emptiness in left discipline, and the workforce continues to be deciding the way to go about patching that want. Amongst inner choices, former prime infield prospect Vaughn Grissom seems to be the main candidate. Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged that enjoying Grissom in left discipline is a chance “as a result of he’s an incredible athlete” (hyperlink through David O’Brien of The Athletic). Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Structure writes that Anthopoulos additionally stated finally week’s GM Conferences that Grissom has already expressed an openness to play anyplace on the sector.
Grissom, 23 in January, broke into the Majors on a blistering scorching streak in 2022, hitting .347/.398/.558 in his first 103 plate appearances. His bat went chilly to shut out that season, nevertheless, and he didn’t present a lot offense in scattershot appears to be like all through the 2023 marketing campaign. In all, he’s adopted these 103 torrid journeys to the plate with 133 plate appearances of .240/.293/.289 output. Nevertheless, Grissom appeared like he little to show in Triple-A this previous season, mashing at a .330/.419/.501 fee in a a lot bigger pattern of 468 plate appearances.
Although the group is clearly open to the concept of testing Grissom’s pure athleticism within the outfield, it must be famous that he’s but to log a single skilled inning on the grass. He’s performed solely shortstop (2140 innings), second base (792 innings) and third base (235 innings) between the massive leagues and the minors, enjoying the 2 center infield spots solely within the large leagues.
In fact, common enjoying time at any of these spots will likely be laborious to come back by in 2024. Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley have second base and third base locked down, respectively. Former utilityman Orlando Arcia seized the on a regular basis shortstop job after Dansby Swanson departed in free company, hitting .264/.321/.420 with 17 house runs in 139 video games. It’s honest to level out that Arcia has a restricted monitor document and in addition light within the season’s closing month (.200/.260/.316 from Sept. 1 onward), however the energy of his season general ought to earn him one other look in 2024. Moreover, one of many very causes Arcia was given an on a regular basis have a look at shortstop was because of the group’s considerations with Grissom’s defensive skills on the place.
Exterior choices abound, with the free-agent market together with the likes of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Michael Brantley and Tommy Pham, amongst others (to say nothing of a possible lower-cost reunion with Rosario). Commerce choices embody Alex Verdugo, Max Kepler and Dylan Carlson, to call only a few. Going with Grissom would enable the Braves to get an extended have a look at a prime homegrown expertise whereas additionally saving some payroll to allocate to the workforce’s anticipated pursuit of a beginning pitcher. On the similar time, bringing in an exterior possibility might free the opportunity of together with Grissom as a part of a commerce package deal so as to add a starter who is likely to be more economical than a free agent.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal writes that the Braves anticipate to pursue at the least one arm this offseason, itemizing longtime division rival Aaron Nola as potential match (albeit in considerably speculative trend) as a result of his southern roots and his relationship with present Braves pitching coach Rick Kranitz (Nola’s former bullpen/pitching coach in Philly).
Regardless of their bevy of long-term contract extensions, the Braves have to this point resisted going past a $22MM common annual worth for any participant on their roster. Anthopoulos has spoken previously as to how that’s not a limitation that’s written in stone, nevertheless; the Braves paid Josh Donaldson $23MM on his one-year deal, for example, and so they’re absolutely held curiosity in free brokers who’d command a bigger AAV than that. Rosenthal reviews that for “the appropriate pitcher,” the Braves can be prepared to increase past a $22MM AAV.
Whether or not that’s Nola, NL Cy Younger frontrunner Blake Snell, NPB ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, AL Cy Younger finalist Sonny Grey, a commerce candidate or an extension candidate (i.e. Max Fried) stays to be seen. Rosenthal factors out that the Braves don’t have a Scott Boras consumer on the present roster — Snell and Yamamoto are repped by Boras — although I’d add that just like the $22MM AAV, that’s not a hard-and-fast rule. The Braves have had Boras shoppers on the roster in current seasons, Touki Toussaint and Dallas Keuchel amongst them.
Anthopoulos and Braves CEO Terry McGuirk have each publicly spoken in regards to the expectation that payroll will improve for a 3rd straight season, although a lot of that uptick in spending will come from the roster that’s already in place. Many gamers who had been signed to long-term contract extensions will see their salaries improve beneath the phrases of these offers. That’s true of Austin Riley (a $5MM improve), Matt Olson ($1MM) and Sean Murphy ($5MM). Re-signed relievers Joe Jimenez ($8MM) and Pierce Johnson ($7MM) may even see will increase over final 12 months’s respective salaries of $2.765MM and $5MM. In the meantime, Fried and A.J. Minter are in line for raises on final 12 months’s respective salaries of $13.5MM and $4.2875MM.
The Braves completed the 2023 season with a payroll simply shy of $205MM and greater than $245MM of luxury-tax commitments, per Roster Useful resource. They’re already at $207MM and $236MM per those self same projections, although non-tenders and potential trades will influence the underside line.