The Braves just made another internal splash by inking Michael Harris to an eight-year contract extension worth at least $72 million. The deal could potentially be up to ten years if the two club options are exercised. Atlanta has its core locked up for the foreseeable future, but there is one missing piece, who will be the shortstop over the next decade?
Dansby Swanson is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and it’s fair to wonder why he hasn’t inked a long-term contract with the Braves like the rest of these guys. Of course, we never know what’s happening behind closed doors. The Braves keep things close to the vest when it comes to negotiations, so it’s no surprise that Alex Anthopoulos deflected a question regarding Dansby Swanson’s contract when asked about it at Michael Harris’ congratulatory press conference.
Alex Anthopoulos on whether the Braves will keep Dansby Swanson: “We’re going to try to keep as many players as we can.”
Anthopoulos said he’ll stick to his standard answer on that.
— Justin Toscano (@JustinCToscano) August 17, 2022
I’m not sure if Justin is the one who asked the question, but he should have known better. Anthopoulos isn’t ever going to talk about ongoing negotiations, but I guess it was worth a shot.
Not long after, though, Jon Heyman reported that contract discussions have begun between the Braves and Swanson.
The Braves have opened extension talks with Dansby Swanson, and if they can lock up the Georgia product, that would leave three likely top free-agent shortstops: Trea Turner, plus Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa (who are likely to opt out). Swanson is repped by Excel/ Casey Close, who didn’t work out a deal for superstar Freddie Freeman with the Braves, much to Freeman’s dismay. To this point, there’s been less whispered negativity about these talks.
As far as Swanson’s contract situation, I’ve talked about it a couple of times over the last few days, including on the latest episode of The SportsTalkATL Podcast (shameless plug). It’s a tricky situation because Swanson is amid a career year, represented by the same agency as Freddie Freeman, and now Vaughn Grissom is in the picture.
I don’t think having Grissom should matter too much. The sample size is too small for the Braves to declare him their starting shortstop in the middle of their championship window. Plus, Grissom could also switch positions. However, the other two points could prevent Swanson from re-signing.
The Braves have enough money to issue Swanson the contract he desires. If he doesn’t re-sign, it’s because of one of two things: Alex Anthopoulos and company don’t think Dansby Swanson can replicate the success he’s had this year and the value doesn’t line up, or Swanson has ulterior motives, which is completely fine.
Just like Freeman — If Swanson wants to be a Brave for life, he’ll be a Brave for life. If that’s not too important to him, then there’s a high chance he leaves once he tests the waters of unrestricted free agency.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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