Will the Braves suffer from a lack of leadership following the departure of Dansby Swanson?

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If you followed the breadcrumbs left by MLB insiders throughout the offseason, the Dansby Swanson news shouldn’t have shocked you over the weekend. The Braves were well below what other clubs were offering, and while I do believe Swanson would have taken a discount to stay, he wasn’t going to leave $50+ million on the table. His goodbye video to Braves Country left many fans teary eyed, but I understand the decision to part ways from both perspectives. It was best for each party, but it left the Braves with a void at shortstop and in the clubhouse.

As fantastic as Swanson was on the field during his Atlanta tenure, he was perhaps even more valuable as a leader. Following the departure of Freddie Freeman, he took on the role of the clubhouse leader. The Braves have long had a standard of excellence, and they’ve consistently had a way of doing things a certain way, which has been upheld by the likes of Chipper Jones, Freddie Freeman, and Dansby Swanson for over two decades. Now, all of them are gone, and it will be up to someone new to take control of the clubhouse.

I’m not going to act like leadership doesn’t matter. It’s one of the primary reasons why I believe the Braves have been the class of the NL East year after year. They put a high value on guys that fit the culture, and that will continue. Losing players like Freeman and Swansons hurts — both on and off the field. However, these are full grown men we are talking about, and the Braves have plenty of players that have the capability to pick up the slack.

I’m intrigued to see who steps up and becomes that next clubhouse leader. Will it be a veteran like Travis d’Arnaud, or could we see the passing of the torch to a player like Austin Riley, who signed a ten-year extension with the team last season. I wouldn’t even be shocked if a young guy like Michael Harris became much more boisterous in the locker room. Most likely, it will likely be a group effort, but I’m interested to see how the players handle those duties now that The Sheriff of the clubhouse is headed to Chicago.

Photo: Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire

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