Over the last three seasons, several writers here at SportsTalkATL, including myself, have been clamoring for the Braves to get out ahead of the curb and extend Dansby Swanson. For whatever reason, that hasn’t happened. Perhaps Alex Anthopoulos and company were concerned about his inconsistencies, but Swanson bet on himself going into a contract year, and the gamble is looking like it will pay substantial dividends.
To this point in the season, Swanson ranks 11th among all players in fWAR. He’s the second-ranked shortstop behind only Tommy Edman of the Cardinals, and it shouldn’t surprise anybody if Swanson caught up to him before long. The Braves shortstop has been on a tear since late April, slashing .333/.396/.525 with a .921 OPS, eight homers, and nine steals over his last 48 games. Not to mention, Swanson is among the best defensive shortstops on the planet as well. He is playing at an MVP level, and at 28-years-old, I would argue he’s just entering his prime.
A lot has been made about the premier shortstops that are set to hit the market this upcoming offseason. Trea Turner will be an unrestricted free agent, and Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa could also be joining him if they choose to opt-out of their respective contracts. Those are three elite options that might be available, and I think it’s time Swanson also be mentioned in the same category.
Coming into the season, I would have predicted a Swanson extension to look something like six years for $80-100 million. At this rate, he will shatter that figure. I expect Swanson to command $100 million at a minimum if he’s extended, and there’s a chance he could start sniffing close to $200 million if he hits unrestricted free agency.
Elite shortstops don’t grow on trees, and while some of Swanson’s past inconsistencies might scare teams away, someone will bet on him and give him an incredibly lucrative contract if that is what he desires. The good news is the Braves should have a boatload of money to spend heading into next season, and there’s a chance Swanson — being a hometown kid — might give them a hometown discount, especially if Anthopoulos went ahead and took the initiative to iron out a deal before the end of the season.
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