ESPN predicts Dansby Swanson’s next contract

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The quiet period is almost over. For those of you who don’t know what the quiet period is — it is the five days following the World Series in which free agents can only negotiate with their previous teams. That ends tomorrow, which is when a much clearer picture of the landscape of free agency will paint itself. Just like last offseason, Alex Anthopoulos will not be sleeping much for months, and his top priority will be shortstop Dansby Swanson.

By now, we’ve seen contract predictions from nearly every national outlet, but ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel released his today. He had Dansby Swanson ranked fifth on his list of MLB free agents, right behind the other three premier shortstop free agents — Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, and Xander Bogaerts. Here’s what McDaniel had to say about Swanson: 

Swanson has really improved since the start of his career when some wondered if the 2015 No. 1 overall pick would be a bust. He’s posted back-to-back 25-homer seasons along with playing elite defense at shortstop — and he doesn’t turn 29 until February. A couple of executives I spoke with said he tops Bogaerts easily, with a chance that Swanson will clear Semien’s deal and get into the $180 million area. When you combine a six-WAR platform year with his power and defensive value, he offers a unique package on the market this year.

On the other hand, there is a concern that he could be a hitter peaking at the typical ages (26-28 exactly) who will get a big deal and immediately start declining offensively. On top of that, speed and defense tend to decline earlier than hitting skills, and those areas makes up a bigger part of Swanson’s appeal than for other players on this tier. I’ll split the difference in my projection, but the gap between the low and high prediction on Swanson is something like $30-40 million, while Bogaerts’ is about double that.

McDaniel predicts Swanson will fetch a six-year contract worth $150 million, which is right at $25 million AAV. If the Braves were to offer him that, I think that’s about what it would take to get it done. However, if Swanson goes to the highest bidder, he will probably make even more than that.

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