The Atlanta Braves have 3 middle infielders in Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, and Johan Camargo but do they have a true shortstop? Their are a few layers to this question and that is what I want to dive into.
The current shortstop for the Braves is Johan Camargo. Camargo has been off to a hot start in 182 at bats has hit .292. While this is a good thing I am not sure if the can maintain those numbers throughout his career moving forward. I also believe Camargo in the long run profiles as more of a .250 or .260 hitter with versatility and a nice option off the bench late in games. The Braves just trade Sean Rodriguez so this gives you even more of a reason to believe a utility role is in his future as a Brave. I believe the only way he plays everyday is if the Braves are happy with his defense at shortstop just like they were when Andrelton Simmons was here.
This brings us to Dansby Swanson who was the marketed shortstop of the future for the Braves. He is supposed to be the new face and shortstop for the next 12 years. There is only one problem with this and it’s a big one. I don’t think he is a shortstop. Defensively he fits as a second baseman. Just by watching Camargo and Swanson at shortstop Camargo is the premier defender over Swanson yet they are pushing Swanson as their shortstop. You know this is the case just by watching the games. For example when it was late in the game and they made a defensive switch Swanson would come in as the shortstop and Camargo would move over to second base to take Brandon Phillips spot. Maybe they are playing Swanson at shortstop so they can keep his value higher should they decide to trade him. Truly though for proper player development their play on the field will naturally determine their long-term position.
Ozzie Albies is the wildcard in this whole situation. He had exclusively played shortstop in the minors until they acquired Swanson. John Coppolella has even said Albies can play shortstop. Why not let Albies play some shortstop and see if he can play it at the big league level. Maybe the Front Office thinks he can be a good shortstop but a Gold Glover at second base so you leave him at second.
The fundamental answer to the question is yes the Braves have a true shortstop between the three. I believe Camargo is a true shortstop. The Braves have options since they are out of the playoff hunt these last two months. Now is a great time to decide which player can play at each position. When Swanson comes back up the big leagues why not rotate all 3 at each of those positions and find your shortstop and second baseman at the highest level.
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I was surprised with the way the trading deadline took shape for the Atlanta Braves. I expected the Braves to make more than just one trade around the July 31st deadline. There is still time to make a deal during the August waiver period and they have a few candidates that would fit that option as well. The 4 names I would have loved the Braves to trade at the deadline were Brandon Phillips, Jim Johnson, Matt Adams, and Kurt Suzuki.
Lets start with the most obvious player to be traded in Brandon Phillips. He should have been traded for anything you could get for him. Weather that was a minor league single-a pitcher or a player to be name later there is no longer any need for him to be on the roster. He is having a good year batting .293 with 8hr and 38 RBI to go along with 9 SB. He is cheap, as the team would be on hook for only the remaining 1 million dollars left on his contract, since the Reds are paying the bulk of the contract. The Braves have plenty of options to handle the 2b and SS spots in Dansby Swanson, Johan Camargo, and Ozzie Albies who I believe they should call up. These 3 guys need to play at the big league level as the Braves continue to build for next year and beyond.
The next player I thought who would have had a real good shot a being trade was Jim Johnson. The way every team in contention is looking for pitching and middle relief help you would have to imagine Johnson was on his way out. I have to think that the reason he was not trade was because he is still under contract at a very affordable rate next year, his most recent struggles, and not enough return value coming back to the Braves.
The player I believe would bring back the most in return is Matt Adams. He has played great once he came over to the Braves. He has hit 15 HR drove in 42 and hit .283 in only 212 at bats. I now expect the Brave to try and trade him during to offseason since he has another year of arbitration. This way the Braves can move Freddie Freeman back over to 1st base. I also think they could get a bigger return in the offseason since they did not get exactly what they were looking for this trade deadline.
The final trade candidate is catcher Kurt Suzuki. He will be a free agent at the end of the year, would only cost a team the remaining $1.5 million on his contract, and has had a great year as the back up. He has hit .268 with 11hr and 31 RBI in only 143 at bats. I would not expect much in return as you would probably get a player in double-a or lower. In my opinion getting something for him is better than nothing.
As it stands right now only Jamie Garcia is the only former Braves that has been trade but it would not surprise me if during the wavier period Phillips and Suzuki get moved. If an injury occurs I know the Braves will be getting calls about those 2 players once they clear waivers.
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