Braves: What is Dansby Swanson worth?

dkb211011030 mil vs atl

Just like last year, over the next few months, one of the hottest topics will be surrounding the Braves extending one of the pillars of their franchise. Last year, it was Freddie Freeman; this time around, it’s Dansby Swanson. Alex Anthopoulos surely doesn’t want things to unfold the way they did with Freeman, and Swanson has reiterated that he wants to be here. But we’ve seen this story before, and things get a lot more difficult once other teams are involved, which they will be at season’s end.

Hopefully, the Braves and Swanson can work out a deal before that happens, but what might that potential contract look like? This is something we’ve discussed several times over the last couple of years, and the closer we get to the end of the season, the higher the number gets.

Determining how teams will value Dansby Swanson this winter is extremely difficult. This is a player seemingly beginning his prime and coming off by far the best season of his career. According to FanGraphs WAR, Swanson (5.3 WAR) has been the ninth-best player in all of baseball, and he’s not far off from passing his former teammate Freddie Freeman (5.7 WAR) and entering the top seven.

I think that’s a little ambitious. Swanson has been fantastic, but he’s not a top-ten or even top-twenty player in the game. If he were, someone would be offering him close to $300 million this offseason. I would say there is an argument to be made about whether he is a top-five shortstop in the game. This year, he’s certainly played like it, but his previous best season in terms of fWAR was 3.3, which came in 2021.

I imagine because of Swanson’s dramatic surge in production this season, the Braves are hesitant to offer him what some other top shortstops have garnered on the open market, and I’m not sure he deserves that. With that being said, there is enough evidence over the last few seasons that points to Swanson being one of the league’s best shortstops, and some team that values his intangibles will pony up and offer him something ridiculous if he hits the open market.

Offensively, Swanson has consistently been one of the best players at his position over the last four seasons. In 2019, he began the year on a tear, but a heel injury forced him to miss significant time, and he wasn’t the same player when he returned. The following season, he led all shortstops in bWAR during the shortened 60-game campaign. 2021 began incredibly slow, but he ended the year on fire and finished with 27 homers. That brings us to this season, which we’ve already discussed at length. Swanson has been nothing short of fantastic.

When talking about Dansby Swanson’s next contract, there are so many variables it is nearly impossible to predict. He could be willing to take a hometown discount, given that he was born and raised in Atlanta. The Braves have a potential backup in Vaughn Grissom. Swanson shares the same agency as Freddie Freeman. AND he’s having the best year of his career.

When you put all of those together, these negotiations could go in a million different directions. However, I’m sticking to what Swanson is worth, which is what a team will pay him if he hits the open market. There will be no shortage of suitors for his services, and the bidding will get over $20 million annually, and I wouldn’t be shocked at all if he gets paid $25 million per season on his next contract, especially if he tests free agency.


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