Unlike Freddie Freeman, who said he wanted to be a Brave for life but was unsure once push came to shove last winter, Dansby Swanson made it very clear to the organization: he wanted to say in Atlanta for the remainder of his career. In a recent article for The Athletic, Jeff Schultz talks to Alex Anthopoulos about what happened, and why the Braves let their second All-Star depart in free agency for nothing in as many years.
I always assumed Swanson would take a lot less to stay in Atlanta, but it’s nonetheless jarring when it’s confirmed. Schultz opened the interview with a question, “Why didn’t you want Dansby Swanson?” Pretty weird question, honestly, because the Braves obviously would have loved to have him back, but Anthopoulos handled it beautifully.
Wow, strong question, strong comment. I don’t agree with that. He got an incredible contract from a great organization, and we weren’t close to it. That’s what he was worth when he hit the open market. He was an incredible player for us, in the clubhouse and on the field. We’re always trying to manage short term and long term. The better players become, the closer they get to free agency, the harder it is to keep these guys. But I will say this: Dansby made every effort to find a way to stay in Atlanta. We had conversations in the summer. He was willing to take a lot less than what he got. That’s important. But we have to manage in our minds short term and long term, and we have to make sure we have enough payroll to allocate a full 26. He deserves everything he got, but at a certain point, it doesn’t make sense for us.
If you want to read the full interview on The Athletic, I strongly suggest it, but this was basically the answer Anthopoulos gave to everything surrounding Dansby Swanson.
Swanson wanted to be in Atlanta. He did everything in his power to make it happen. The two sides spoke several times during the offseason, but at the end of the day, the Braves weren’t even close to what the Cubs offered.
In this piece, two things are clear from the organization’s perspective. The Braves aren’t the Mets, and they never will be. They are at the top of their budget and will always be worried about handing out long-term contracts to aging players, which is why they have let Freeman and Swanson walk in back-to-back offseasons.
Secondly, they don’t think Swanson’s production from the 2022 campaign is sustainable. The Braves didn’t even put together a competitive offer for a player coming off a season in which he accrued 6.4 fWAR — the 12th most in the majors. If Atlanta thought he could produce anywhere close to that level over the duration of his next contract, they would have had no problem offering him at least $150 million, which likely would have been more than enough to get a deal done.
The Braves made a business decision. They never let their emotions get in the way, which is the correct way to run an organization, but that doesn’t mean they are always right. We’ll know in a few years if Alex Anthopoulos yet again let another one get away.
Photo: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire
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