MLB trade regrade: Vaughn Grissom injury gives Braves unexpected edge over Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox traded Chris Sale to the Atlanta Braves this winter, acquiring promising second baseman Vaughn Grissom in the process. Grissom may miss Opening Day.

2024 Boston Red Sox Spring Training
2024 Boston Red Sox Spring Training / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox traded oft-injured former ace Chris Sale to the Atlanta Braves this offseason for Vaughn Grissom. Atlanta took a chance on Sale, who finished his 2023 season in impressive fashion, to round out their rotation.

Grissom, meanwhile, did not have a home in Atlanta. While the Braves acknowledged Grissom's talent, they didn't have a spot in the infield to play him. Such is the case when you have one of the best lineups in MLB history by the numbers.

Boston acquired Grissom with the thought he would be their Opening Day second baseman next to Trevor Story on the infield. It was a match which made sense for Grissom, a player who is still growing defensively but can clearly contribute with his bat.

Vaughn Grissom injury: How long will Red Sox second baseman be out?

Vaughn Grissom is expected to miss Opening Day and perhaps the first few weeks of the season with a groin strain, per manager Alex Cora.

"I was just taking ground balls, and it bit me," Grissom said. "... Obviously, it [stinks]. New group, I want to be out there with the guys, so it's definitely frustrating."

With Grissom out Opening Day with a groin injury, it appears Enmanuel Valdez will start at second base for the time being. Valdez has some MLB experience and should prove to be fine filler while the promising Grissom is on the mend.

“This happened, and now we just have to be patient, get him stronger, get him better, and he'll be OK,’’ Cora added. “... We’re obviously disappointed in a sense because we wanted Vaughn to get as many reps as possible and hopefully be the starting second baseman of the Boston Red Sox, but I think we've ... got a good [choice to step up].”

MLB trade grades: Does Vaughn Grissom injury impact Chris Sale deal for Braves, Red Sox?

While Grissom is expected to miss Opening Day, Sale's early spring training returns have been nothing short of positive. With less pressure on Sale to lead the Braves rotation -- which features Max Fried and Spencer Strider at the top of it -- he can focus more on maintaining his health and developing his secondary pitches in the latter half of his career.

FanSided's Cody Williams initially graded the Sale trade as a win for both sides, giving the Red Sox an A and the Braves an A-. While it's early, it's tough to alter these grades significantly as Grissom should return in due time.

If anything, I would consider flipping those terms.

Braves trade grade: A

In acquiring Sale for what amounts to spare parts, the Braves did an outstanding job leveraging one of their best assets for a player at a position of need. If we learned anything about the Atlanta rotation last season, it's that Alex Anthopoulos needed to acquire depth. Sale gives them just that, and his early success in spring training should only build his confidence prior to Opening Day.

Red Sox trade grade: A-

Grissom missing Opening Day stings, as he brought youth and enthusiasm to a Red Sox lineup which could use a bit more pop. However, he'll be back sometime in mid-April at this rate, so he should still receive plenty of reps in the middle infield. Boston should be patient with the 24-year-old, as he has plenty of talent. The Red Sox finished in last place in the AL East last season. Grissom could be part of the solution if the Boston media doesn't eat him alive in the meantime.