Most of Braves Country would love for the club to re-sign Dansby Swanson, and it’s probably the most likely outcome for the Braves and Swanson. The former no. 1 overall pick cut his teeth in the organization; he’s a hometown kid and has quickly become one of the best players at his position. Swanson has been described as the sheriff of the clubhouse and a winner; those intangible qualities matter to the Braves.
On the field, he just had the best season of his career. In a contract year, Swanson slashed .277/.329/.447 with 25 homers, good for a .776 OPS to go along with 18 stolen bags. He earned All-Star and Gold Glove honors for the first time in his career. And it couldn’t have happened at a better time for Swanson as he is set to test free agency for the first time.
Looking to cash in, he’ll be looking to be paid handsomely. However, it’ll be up to Alex Anthopoulos and the Braves front office to sift through the numbers and project Swanson’s future. Was the 2022 campaign a flash in the pan? Or was that what the Braves can expect from Swanson? There are certainly some concerns about handing him a deal worth $25+ million per year. And Mark Feinsand of MLB.com did an excellent job highlighting these ‘buyer beware’ facets of Swanson’s game.
“Swanson will represent an upgrade to almost any lineup, but the team that signs him must be prepared to watch him swing and miss on a frequent basis. Swanson’s strikeout percentage was in the bottom 20 percent in 2022, while his whiff percentage was in the bottom 15 percent of MLB. Swanson’s strikeout rate has been in the bottom 40 percent of the Majors every year of his career, always coming in worse than league average.”
He’s one of the streakiest hitters in all of baseball, and if the Braves are okay with that, then I expect them to hand him a massive contract. After all, with the shift ban taking place next season, there will be a premium on defense. And Dansby Swanson is arguably the best defensive shortstop in baseball. Depending on where AA wants to place value, Swanson could be the favorite to fill the shortstop void. He could also believe the offensive upgrade with a Trea Turner signing outweighs Swanson’s defensive value.
The Braves have said on multiple occasions the team will be a top-five payroll, and there’s no way they can get there without spending big on the shortstop position this winter. It might not be Swanson, but it’ll be a marquee player. There are hundreds of things to consider when discussing a potential deal coming to fruition. Any one of them could result in the two sides parting ways, as we saw last offseason with Freddie Freeman