The Braves were apparently never serious about bringing back Dansby Swanson

9532210110044 phl at atl

Over the weekend, the Braves lost their second All-Star in as many offseasons. Dansby Swanson inked a seven-year, $177 million contract with the Cubs, leaving Atlanta with next to no inspiring options to fill their void at shortstop in 2023. It looks like the Braves will do so internally, relying on a combination of Orlando Arcia and Vaughn Grissom, which worked for the Astros this past season with Jeremy Peña but could also result in disaster.

On the surface, the decision not to bring back Swanson, who was a leader in the clubhouse and coming off the best year of his career, must have been gut-wrenching. However, it appears the Braves were never really serious about ever re-signing him.

Rumors and reports have varied, but’s Mark Bowman, who I choose to trust in these situations, has remained adamant about the Braves never upping their mid-season offer of six years and $100 million to Swanson. That was where they drew a line in the sand, which absolutely never had a chance of getting a deal done.

Given how much the Braves have talked about being a top-five payroll, I don’t think this was about money. They’ve shown an increased willingness to spend in bunches over the last couple of years, and I don’t expect that to change.

This was about who they believe Swanson is as a player. Despite coming off a career year — one in which he was rated the 12th best player in baseball, according to FanGraphs — Swanson had never finished a season with more than 3.4 WAR prior to 2022. From 2017-2021 as the full-time starting shortstop for the Braves, he averaged just 1.78 WAR per season. Swanson strikes out in more than a quarter of his plate appearances, and there’s no question he benefitted from an extremely high .344 average on batted balls in play last season.

I see why the Braves weren’t willing to pay Swanson like an All-Star. He’s only shown to be an elite shortstop in one of his six seasons. Of course, you’re not paying a player for what they’ve done in the past. You pay for what you’re going to get in the future.

I think Swanson has been trending in the right direction for years now, and apparently, so do the Cubs. However, the Braves lack of contact with their All-star shortstop tells you exactly how they feel about what is coming. They expect Swanson to regress severely, which is why they were never seriously considering re-signing him. Time will tell if that was the correct decision.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: