The shortstop market is going to be electric this offseason. Four of the premier players at the position, including the Braves own Dansby Swanson, are set to test the open market, with several big market teams bidding for their services. It makes for an exciting offseason, and as I’ve said many times now, I believe one of the “Big 4” shortstops will end up in Atlanta. It’s just a matter of which one.
Of the four, my personal favorite would be Carlos Correa. He’s a leader in the clubhouse, elite offensively, and perhaps even more importantly — with the shift being banned next season — elite defensively. But Jim Bowden of The Athletic sees it a little differently.
In a recent article, Bowden recently named his best fits for each of the “Big 4” shortstops while also predicting the contracts they will sign. He believes Trea Turner will sign a deal in the eight-year, $264 million range, and he thinks his best fit is with the Braves.
The Braves are a great geographic fit for Turner. He went to high school in Florida and college at North Carolina State. He would fit nicely in the Braves’ lineup with Ronald Acuña Jr. and Michael Harris II at the top of the order, followed by the power bats of Austin Riley and Matt Olson. The Braves can afford to sign Turner to a “market deal,” if they want to, because they’ve done such a great job of signing their core players to below-market deals. Adding Turner would give the Braves arguably the best projected lineup in baseball for the next five to seven years.
Listen, I’m a Dansby Swanson truther to the core. I’ve always thought he would eventually be one of the league’s best shortstops, and he proved it this past season. He’s also a tremendous leader and just a straight up winner. He’s been that way at every level.
With that being said, I’m not an idiot (contrary to popular belief). Trea Turner is a far superior player to Swanson. Sure, Turner has some hiccups defensively, and he’s not going to provide some of the highlight plays with the glove that Swanson has given the Braves night in and night out. That’s a bit worrisome, especially with the shift being banned next season. But offensively, Turner is on a different planet compared to Swanson.
Turner is a career .302 hitter with an .842 OPS. He’s smacked 49 homers over the last two seasons and swiped 230 bags throughout his career. There’s not a better offensive shortstop in the game. Toss him in the middle of the Braves lineup, and you’re talking about the best offense in baseball.
The only concern is the contract. The Braves have said they aim to be a top five payroll in baseball, but they’ve never shown the willingness to hand out the mega-contract Turner will require. I do believe that will change eventually, but will it be this offseason, and is Turner the guy they decide to break the bank for? That’s something we should know over the next few months.
Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire