The Braves won’t overpay for players. Just ask Freddie Freeman. Alex Anthopoulos had a number in mind for the former MVP, and Freeman’s agent didn’t see things the same, forcing the club’s hand. AA responded by making a blockbuster deal to acquire Matt Olson from the A’s, and the Braves could be in a similar situation this Winter with Dansby Swanson.
The offseason will revolve around what the Braves will do at the shortstop position. And The Athletic‘s David O’Brien is pessimistic regarding the club’s chances of retaining Swanson.
"He probably priced himself out of Atlanta with the season he had."@DOBrienATL recaps the Braves 2022 season and shares his two cents on the likelihood Dansby Swanson re-signs with the club this Winter. #HighHeat | @MadDogUnleashed | @alannarizzo pic.twitter.com/WJHzszSwKR
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 24, 2022
“I went from being probably 70-30, I thought that Dansby would be back even as it dragged on, but then when it reached the Freddie Freeman stage, they let him get to the open market, I became a lot less optimistic,” O’Brien said on MLB Network. “I’m probably less than 50-50 now that he’s coming back, because I think if he was they would have done it [already].
“I think they’re going to wait to see what the market [is], if he comes back to where they’re comfortable paying him, but I don’t think Dansby’s going to. I think his market’s a lot bigger than Freddie’s was …. He probably priced himself out of Atlanta with the season he had.”
Swanson deserves to be paid. He just turned in the best season of his career, capping it off with All-Star and Gold Glove honors. He was the best defensive shortstop in baseball and posted the best offensive numbers of his career with a .277 batting average with 25 homers and 96 RBIs. Swanson also accumulated 6.4 fWAR, which was the 12th most in the MLB.
However, it’s very possible that the season was just a flash in the pan. Swanson is a .255 hitter over his seven-year big-league career, and his power and defense will likely decline with age. He’s also maybe the streakiest hitter in baseball. To end the 2022 season, Swanson hit just .237 with a .693 OPS over his final 55 games, and that trend continued against the Phillies in the NLDS. Consistency has always been and will be an issue for Swanson. So the Braves not overpaying for him wouldn’t be the end of the world. And as O’Brien continued, they have internal options.
“I think they’re comfortable enough that they’ll go with [Vaughn Grissom] and Orlando Arcia [at shortstop],” O’Brien said. “I probably think they’re going to make a move elsewhere. People I think overestimated how much money the Braves would spend this offseason …. I don’t think they’re going to spend a whole lot of money.”
Now, I don’t agree with O’Brian suggesting the Braves won’t spend a whole lot of money. Nobody knows Alex Anthopoulos’ plans. He runs quite possibly the tightest ship in sports; nothing gets out, and that’s not going to change this offseason. The Braves could very well pony up for Dansby Swanson or one of the other marquee free agents. Or, the club could acquire someone like Willy Adames. I do agree with O’Brien that the team won’t overpay for Swanson’s services, but his notion about spending a whole lot of money is just a feeling; there’s nothing substantial there.
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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