Braves’ biggest remaining offseason questions: Could they make a change at shortstop?

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This is the third part of a series where I discuss the biggest remaining offseason questions for the Braves, moving onto a position that doesn’t NEED a change right now. However, there have been some rumblings that one might be coming regardless. If you missed any of the previous pieces to this series, click the links below.

Dansby Swanson’s Contract

Swanson is coming off his best full season as a professional, but it was still quite inconsistent, especially to begin the season. The Braves’ stance on his future remains unknown. He’s undoubtedly improved over the last few seasons, but is it enough to warrant the lucrative contract extension he desires?

If it were up to me, I would say yes. Swanson shouldn’t cost top dollar because of his inconsistency offensively, but his best baseball very well could be in front of him. He’s also above average defensively at arguably the most important position on the diamond and a fantastic fit in the clubhouse. I can understand why the Braves might be hesitant to pay him the $100+ million he is likely asking for over an extension, but what better options do they have?

Carlos Correa Rumors

When looking at next year’s free agent class, the candidates are few and far between. Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts¬†headline the class, but even if the Braves can afford one of them, it’s unlikely they outbid the likes of the Dodgers and Red Sox for their services. After those two, it’s Dansby Swanson and not a whole lot else.

If the Braves wait until next offseason to make a decision on Swanson’s future, they could be in a very similar situation to the one they are in now with Freddie Freeman. However, what if they don’t wait until next offseason?

There are some very high quality options still available, like Trevor Story and Carlos Correa, the latter of which they were connected to right before the lockout began.

Adding Correa to the lineup would make the Braves more formidable than they’ve been since the early 2000s. We’ve seen them interested in top-dollar free agents before, but how could they possibly afford the $300+ million Correa will likely fetch?

The Departure of Freddie Freeman

Typing those words just made me physically ill, but it’s time for Braves fans to face the possibility. Buster Olney reported earlier today that the belief is Freeman will be playing elsewhere next season. Right now, it’s difficult to spin that into a positive, so I’m not even going to try, but it doesn’t mean the Braves will be standing pat. Alex Anthopoulos has made it very clear that payroll will be higher in 2022 than it was last season. How much higher? That remains to be seen, but if the Braves don’t re-sign Freeman, they’ll have money to spend, especially if they trade Dansby Swanson. Carlos Correa may be far-fetched, but I wouldn’t rule anything out.

 

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