Predicting the contracts for the top shortstop free agents

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I have very creatively labeled the top four shortstop free agents the “Big 4.” All of them have been All-Stars, and they are all coming off tremendous seasons. Carlos Correa might reset the market for shortstops, and Trea Turner won’t be too far behind. Typically, that would mean the Braves would have no chance of signing them. However, with payroll rising and most of their young stars signed to long-term deals, this could finally be the year we see the Braves ink a superstar free agent to a mega-deal.

Carlos Correa

For whatever reason, some Braves fans don’t want Carlos Correa, but those people are absolutely nuts. Correa is unquestionably the best shortstop free agent on the market. I would say he’s the best shortstop in baseball right now, and his value is only going to go up with the shift being banned next season.¬†Defensively, Correa owns a platinum glove. On offense, he boasts a career .836 OPS. On top of that, he’s been a menace for opposing teams in the postseason, and he’s well respected by his peers in the clubhouse.

If there’s one downside to Correa, it’s been his inability to stay healthy over his career. He’s only played in over 150 games one time. However, he’s coming off two seasons where he’s played 148 games and 136 games, respectively. That would be more than enough production to lead the Braves to several more division titles. Unfortunately, I think he’s the one guy on this list that’s probably out of Alex Anthopoulos’ price range.

Prediction: 10 years, $342 million ($1 million higher than Francisco Lindor to pace all shortstops)

Trea Turner

Something tells me the Braves are going to do everything in their power to land Trea Turner. He’s dominated the Braves over his career and is the best offensive shortstop in the game. Put him in the middle of Atlanta’s lineup, and they will have the best offense in baseball. There are some questions about his defense, especially with the shift being banned, and whether he will be able to play shortstop for the length of his next contract, but I think his offense more than makes up for his deficiencies with the glove. Turner won’t get as long of a deal as Correa, given he’s set to turn 30, but the AAV should be in the same ballpark.

Prediction: 7 years, $250 million

Dansby Swanson

Of these four players, Swanson comes with the most unknown. Until this season, he was a slightly above average shortstop for his career. But in 2022, you could make the argument that he was the best shortstop in the game. I think he will win his first Gold Glove, and he’s coming off his second consecutive season with 25+ homers. It might surprise some people, but Swanson might actually be the best power hitter among all of these guys. He’s also a tremendous leader in the clubhouse and has won at every level.

I’m a Dansby Swanson fanatic. I think the season he had in 2022 is what he will provide whoever he signs with for the next 5+ years. With that being said, the questions surrounding him are fair, and there is the risk that he could regress. But with that risk comes a potentially considerable reward. He will likely sign the most “team-friendly” deal of all these candidates, and there’s a chance he provides just as much production.

Prediction: 6 years, $160 million

Xander Bogaerts

For a guy who has been as good as Bogaerts has over the last five seasons, it doesn’t seem like he’s being talked about enough when it comes to this free agent class. The man has an .880 OPS over that span, averaging well over 20 homers per year. There are undoubtedly some concerns with him defensively — more so than anybody else on this list. But Bogaerts is still a legitimate MVP-caliber player at this point in his career, with multiple championships on his resum√©. Like I said about Turner, if you put Bogaerts in the middle of the Braves’ order, there won’t be a better offense in baseball.

Predictions: 7 years, $212 million

Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

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