Update: The Braves have announced a ton of moves. The roster is way, way clearer now.
The Braves today optioned RHP Nick Anderson, INF Vaughn Grissom, INF Braden Shewmake, OF Jordan Luplow and OF Eli White to Triple-A Gwinnett, & reassigned LHP Danny Young, C Ryan Casteel, C Joe Hudson and INF Yolmer Sánchez to minor league camp. Atlanta now has 32 players in camp— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) March 20, 2023
This is the Braves operating with maximum flexibility, again. Anderson, Grissom, Shewmake, Luplow, and White all have options; many of the other players remaining on the roster and much closer to Opening Day in the majors did not. In addition to the surprising shortstop developments (see below), Luplow is somewhat strange — he has one option year remaining, but signed a non-split deal. Then again, Luplow has not avoided Triple-A in any season where there were actual Triple-A games going back to his debut year in 2017, so perhaps this is just kind of annual tradition for him.
Original post and update follows
Since 2018, the Braves have largely operated in a fashion that I generally understood (reliever stuff aside), even if I didn’t always agree. If the below from beat reporter Mark Bowman is true, however, then I have no idea what’s going on:
The Braves will option both Braden Shewmake and Vaughn Grissom to Triple-A Gwinnett— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) March 20, 2023
To be clear, Vaugn Grissom has pretty good projections on the back of an overall-successful short stint in the majors last year, and his body of work in the minors at a young age. The defensive concerns are real, but the projections don’t ignore those considerations, and are still fine.
Braden Shewmake probably shouldn’t have been a realistic option to win the starting shortstop job out of Spring Training, given his unimpressive minor league track record and not-worth-starting projections. Still, there was some smoke wafting around over the past few days that Shewmake had inserted himself as a third candidate in the Braves’ spring shortstop competition. Moreover, he was only the third candidate because any discussion about Orlando Arcia winning the gig had largely evaporated with the latter’s nondescript performance this spring.
But now, here we are. Have Arcia and Ehire Adrianza somehow sewn up the shortstop and utility infielder job? Is a trade coming? Maybe the simplest explanation is that this isn’t a credible report, but it’s Mark Bowman, who doesn’t generally report rumor as fact. So... I don’t know. This isn’t really the “interesting” prospective roster move I was hoping to see. As I was typing this, the other beat hombre confirmed this:
#Braves will go with Orlando Arcia as their Opening Day shortstop, and will option both Braden Shewmake and Vaughn Grissom to Triple A. Ehire Adrianza is the utility infielder.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) March 20, 2023
So there you go. I don’t really understand it any more than I did when I started writing this post, but here we are. Hopefully this doesn’t go poorly for the Braves, but honestly, the roster is so stacked that this isn’t a big deal — just a confusing one.
Stay tuned for any more developments as Spring Training winds down. Maybe there will be a trade after all...
UPDATE: Looks like Nick Anderson is going to Gwinnett as well:
Source: Nick Anderson has been optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. He had been in competition for the final spot in the bullpen.— Justin Toscano (@JustinCToscano) March 20, 2023
Anderson being sent down is also surprising, albeit considerably less so. The righty reliever had shown good stuff in his outings. But, the Braves have gone on record as emphasizing roster flexibility early in the season, and Anderson has options, while some of their other reliever candidates do not. I imagine he won’t be at Gwinnett for long unless he gets hurt or really falters.
The roster picture is getting a little clearer now for Opening Day, but also a lot weirder.