Anthopoulos: Swanson, Albies unlikely to switch positions

Jan 29, 2018
Mark Bradley/Mark Bradley blog
Atlanta Braves rookie Dansby Swanson connects for his first Major League hit with a single in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins in Atlanta, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. Swanson was making his Major League debut. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The Braves are unlikely to switch shortstop Dansby Swanson’s and second baseman Ozzie Albies’ positions, despite mentioning the idea at December’s winter meetings.

General manager Alex Anthopoulos said Saturday that, after further evaluation, they’re more likely to keep the status quo.

“We talked a little bit more about that with the staff,” he said. “I know I floated that at the winter meetings. I think the more we talk about it, I think we’re likely to just hold. That doesn’t mean we may not talk about it a little bit more. So I don’t want to lock ourselves into anything.

“The more we talked through it, I don’t know that the need is there as much, with (third base coach Ron Washington) and talking about the infield.”

Anthopoulos didn’t offer anything concrete about a move last month. He just indicated the team was willing to experiment.

“I am trying to just educate myself,” he said at the meetings. “I didn’t see these guys in the minor leagues. There’s no plans to make any changes at all, but kind of throwing it out as, do we let both of them take ground balls at both spots at spring training, just to take a look? Haven’t decided anything, but those are just some of the questions that get asked, brainstorming things like that.”

The Braves believe both players are at their best positions long term. Albies was initially a shortstop before being groomed as a second baseman to accommodate Swanson in the minor leagues.

Much of the organization’s rebuild was done assuming Albies, 21, and Swanson, 23, would make up the Braves’ middle infield.

“We see Ozzie as a second baseman going forward,” Anthopoulos said. “We do ultimately see Dansby as a shortstop going forward. But we don’t feel strongly one way or another. Ultimately that’s going to be (Braves manager Brian Snitker’s) camp. He’ll make the decisions on that.”

But they won’t paint themselves into a corner. Anthopoulos maintained that they’ll be flexible with the infield, and if there’s a player whose acquisition would dictate positional shifts, they’d consider it.

“Let’s say a really good infielder comes available,” Anthopoulos said. “And we just really want to get the player. Maybe that changes things and some people start to bounce and move. So that could change depending on who we may or may not bring in.”