The Cubs made one of the bigger splashes of the offseason, poaching Dansby Swanson away from his hometown by offering him a seven-year, $177 million contract. Like most Braves fans, I wanted Swanson to end his career in Atlanta, but his market exploded after a career-year, and Alex Anthopoulos was never going to hand him that kind of deal.
A split was inevitable and probably a wise decision by the Braves. Outside of last season, when Swanson was arguably the best shortstop in baseball, he’s mostly been a slightly above average player. That’s not the kind of player well-run organizations hand nearly $200 million. It would have made him the highest-paid player on the team on an annual basis. This was an overpay by the Cubs, and they might already be having a bit of buyer’s remorse.
It’s only Spring Training, so I would urge Cubs fans that are already panicking to relax, but the offensive results thus far for Swanson have been dreadful. Over 25 at-bats, he only has two hits (.080 batting average). He’s also struck out an alarming 11 times, leading to takes like these before he’s even played his first regular season game as a Cub.
Dansby Swanson’s spring strikeout rate is becoming a thing of legend.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) March 17, 2023
Dansby Swanson has two hits and a 35.5% k-rate this spring. pic.twitter.com/8HonlaaJjA
— brando (@_bg37) March 18, 2023
If there’s one thing Cubs fans do need to get used to, it’s these kind of stretches from their new shortstop.
For as good as Swanson was at times over his Braves career, he was prone to long stretches every season where he would look like he belonged at the low-levels of the minors. Offensively, the only consistent thing about Dansby Swanson is his inconsistency.
That’s the primary reason the Braves weren’t interested in making him the highest-paid player on the team. His defensive and intangibles were extremely valuable and a big reason why Atlanta has had so much success recently. He’s a winning ballplayer — plain and simple — and Cubs fans will eventually learn to love their new toy. But from experience, it will also come with a lot of frustrating growing pains.
Swanson will do just fine handling the added pressure that comes with such a contract, but this will be a constant struggle for Cubs fans expecting him to come there and immediately change the trajectory of their organization.
Photo: Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire
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