Braves: Is Dansby Swanson overvalued?

dkb211011030 mil vs atl

Hey, leader of the Dansby Swanson fan club here. If you follow the site, you’re well aware that I have stuck with Swanson through thick and thin over the years, which finally paid off in a big way this season. Dansby was arguably the best defensive shortstop in baseball, winning his first Gold Glove. He also turned in his best offensive campaign, hitting .277 with 25 homers and setting the franchise record for RBIs for a shortstop with 96. All of this resulted in Swanson accumulating 6.4 fWAR — good for 12th in the league. As a Braves fan, it was a thrill to watch, but now he’s a free agent, and he’s about to get PAID.

I’ve talked at length multiple times about what Dansby Swanson is worth. He will sign a deal well north of $100 million in total, and it could potentially reach $200 million. Losing him after letting Freddie Freeman walk wouldn’t feel right, and it could have a devastating impact on the clubhouse. I want him in a Braves uniform for life, but I’m going to play devil’s advocate here for a bit.

For his career, Swanson has been a slightly above-average shortstop and a below-average offensive player. He’s hitting just .255 over seven years in the majors, and he’s set to turn 29 this offseason. The uptick in power has been nice, but how long can that continue? As he ages, that’s likely to decline. Swanson’s calling card is his defense, but that will also likely regress with age.

To go even further, Swanson’s end to 2022 left a lot to be desired at the plate. He hit just .237 with a .693 OPS over his final 55 games, and things didn’t improve in the NLDS against the Phillies. The full body of work was impressive, but consistency has always been an issue with Swanson, and after seven seasons, that’s unlikely to change.

Now, the Braves shortstop wants to get paid more than just about everybody on Atlanta’s roster. If Swanson continues to be the guy he was in 2022, whoever signs him will be looking back at this moment as one of the greatest in franchise history. Beyond his play, Swanson is the ultimate leader and a winner in the clubhouse. But if he doesn’t continue this trajectory? It’s the kind of contract that could set a franchise back a decade, especially one without limitless funds like the Braves.

Even if Swanson regresses back to his 2021 level, he won’t be worth the contract he fetches this winter. Those are concerns every team that courts him this offseason must be aware of. So, the potential for him to outperform his contract does exist, but at his current market value, his floor makes him one of the riskiest free agents on the market this offseason.

Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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