The Cubs are in the market for a shortstop, as you surely know.
We’ve looked at Carlos Correa and Trea Turner as possible signings by Jed Hoyer & Co. over the last couple of days, so now let’s look at Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson.
Swanson is an Atlanta-area native who has played his entire MLB career there, and not by design, but by luck. He was the first overall pick in the 2015 draft by the Diamondbacks (the draft where the Cubs chose Ian Happ) and was traded to the Braves that December, along with Aaron Blair and Ender Inciarte, for Shelby Miller and Gabe Speier.
Wow. Any time you tell me a Cubs trade is bad, just look at that one, almost certainly the worst in D-Backs history and quite possibly the worst deal of the last decade. It used to be that teams couldn’t trade draft picks for a year after they were selected, but that rule had been rescinded not long before, and Swanson was one of the first draft picks traded as a result.
Swanson just finished the best season of his career, batting .277/.329/.447 (177-for-640) with 32 doubles, 24 home runs and 18 stolen bases. He set career highs in several categories, posted his best bWAR season (5.7) and made the NL All-Star team for the first time.
That’s probably the best-case scenario for anyone hitting free agency. He’s also a good defender — here are a few minutes worth of defensive highlights of Swanson from 2022:
Swanson is basically the same age as Correa (the two were born three months apart in 1994).
So he’s probably in line for a seven-year deal or something along those lines.
This MLB Trade Rumors article examines the Braves payroll, which includes having signed a great number of their young players to long-term deals, and wonders whether they could fit a Swanson contract into their budget. The article looks at whether the Braves could fit both Swanson and another top-tier free agent into their payroll and concludes:
Still, there’s no viable scenario where the Braves could shed enough payroll to be able to re-sign Swanson and make a play for one of the market’s other top free agents without skyrocketing into luxury territory.
So, how valuable do the Braves consider Swanson? This MLB.com article suggests at least his teammates all would love to see him come back, and you’d think as an Atlanta-area native he’d want to return, but you know how those things sometimes go.
At this CBS Sports article from August, Mike Axisa looks at Swanson in comparison to Correa and other shortstops who signed last year and concludes:
Swanson is having a career year and this offseason figures to be his best chance at a massive long-term deal. He’s unlikely to get Seager money. Swanson’s great but he’s not a $300 million player. It’s more likely his next deal falls in the Báez and Story range, or maybe Semien.
I would concur. Swanson made $10 million in 2022. Would seven years and $200 million do it?
This poll is closed
... the Cubs should sign him to a contract like the one proposed in the article
... the Cubs should sign him, but it will cost more in years or dollars or both
... the Cubs should not sign him
Something else (leave in comments)