MLB executive praises Braves for letting Dansby Swanson walk in free agency

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The Braves have been rewarded several times for relying on their internal talent. When Josh Donaldson left, Atlanta turned to Austin Riley, who is now the club’s highest-paid player. Michael Harris II may have single handily turned the 2022 season around when he was called up. And the Braves are doing the same thing at shortstop with Dansby Swanson and Vaughn Grissom.

Following the best season of his career, Swanson elected to test free agency and received a massive deal from the Cubs — one the Braves were never going to come close to. Dansby Swanson leaving right after Freddie Freeman stings, but former MLB executive David Samson suggests it was the right move on the “Off-Air” podcast.

“The best front offices know when it’s time to let a player go and they don’t do it too late. They do it either on time or too early,” Samson said, via Audacy. “The Tampa Bay Rays are a great example of that. Again, in my 18 years, I unfortunately would hold onto players sometimes too long or trade them away way too soon.”

The Braves have set the precedent for locking up core talent at potential team-friendly rates — Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, Spencer Strider, Michael Harris II. Samson noted how smart it is.

“The reality is by locking up all the young players they did, they’re making choices and they’re choosing upside,” he said. “There’s a chance – a really good chance – for overperformance of these contracts, meaning the players play better than what they’re getting paid.”

Dansby Swanson is a different story entirely. Nobody believed the Braves were going to give him a $177 million deal over seven years. Swanson capitalized on an insane shortstop free agent market and a career year. He parlayed them into a deal that will be pretty difficult to live up to, according to Samson.

“There is no way that Swanson can play better than what he’s currently getting paid,” Samson said. “And if you stick by that philosophy and try to get overperformance by players versus their contracts, you’re going to win more than you’re going to lose and Alex has been really good at doing that.”

Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire

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