The Braves (and really humanity at large) got some bad news with the arrest of Hector Olivera Wednesday morning regarding an alleged assault of a woman at the team hotel in Arlington, VA. First, lets get this out of the way: we don't know if anyone is guilty or innocent and Olivera as well as the victim, deserve the courtesy of a fair investigation into the facts of the case. I'm not here to take a stance on any of that.
However, as it stands now, Olivera has been placed on paid administrative leave as the police as well as Major League Baseball conduct their investigations. It stands to reason that the Braves will be without Hector for at least the foreseeable future, so what does that mean for the Braves roster?
1.) Recalling Daniel Castro
This was an easy call that the Braves made given that Castro was essentially the last available member of the 40 man roster that could be called up. It also has the added benefit of bringing up a sure-handed (for the most part) shortstop to help the decidedly not sure-handed Erick Aybar. There are already rumors of sliding Aybar over to second base given Jace Peterson's struggles thus far this season. However, Jace can be a good defensive player and Aybar has had some notable issues with catching and throwing this year so its unclear as to what the Braves will do with Castro in the fold.
2.) Increased playing time for Jeff Francoeur and Kelly Johnson
With Mallex Smith filling in for the injured Ender Inciarte for at least the next couple of weeks (more on that in a second), it means that left field will feature a lot of Kelly Johnson and Jeff Francoeur during the course of Olivera's leave/suspension. This could turn into a straight platoon situation, but with Kelly's added utility in the infield as well, its possible there will be games when both players will be in the field.
3.) Mallex isn't going anywhere for a while
There was some hope that Mallex Smith, with a strong performance, was going to stick in Atlanta even after Ender Inciarte returns from a hamstring injury. With Hector Olivera out for the forseeable future given that he is about to be formally charged as this is being written, the Braves need the help in the outfield even if its just off the bench. So enjoy yourselves Braves fans, you should get a nice long look at Mallex this year.
4.) The Minor League Shortstop Shuffle
This is where things could get really interesting. Daniel Castro was the primary shortstop for Gwinnett and his absence is going to require some moving around. Now, the rational, safe thing to do would be to move guys in the minors such as Emerson Landoni, Erison Mendez, Reed Harper, and Kurt Hoekstra to fill in the gaps on minor league rosters (in this example, every player basically just moves up a level). However, both Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies have performed very well at their respective levels. The (very) aggressive move would be to take the opportunity to move one or both of them up to accelerate their development. Swanson seems like the more likely candidate to do this given his age and Ozzie's already aggressive placement in AA. Again, this isn't a likely scenario, but definitely something to think about going forward.