Like last year, one of the hottest topics over the next few months will be the Braves expanding on one of the pillars of their franchise. Last year it was Freddie Freeman; this time it’s Dansby Swanson. Alex Anthopoulos certainly doesn’t want things to go the way Freeman did, and Swanson has reiterated that he wants to be here. But we’ve seen this story before, and things get a lot more complicated when the other teams that they will become at the end of the season step in.
Hopefully the Braves and Swanson can agree before that happens, but what could that potential contract look like? This is something we have discussed several times over the past couple of years and the closer we get to the end of the season, the higher the number gets.
Determining how teams will rate the Dansby Swanson this winter is extremely difficult. This player seems to be starting his heyday and having the best season of his career. Swanson (5.3 WAR) was the ninth-best player in all of baseball, according to FanGraphs WAR, and he’s not far from passing his former teammate Freddie Freeman (5.7 WAR) into the top seven.
I think it’s a bit ambitious. Swanson was a fantastic player, but he’s not in the top 10 or even in the top 20. If that were the case, someone would offer him about $300 million this offseason. I’d say it’s debatable whether he’s in the top 5 in the game. This year he played exactly the same, but his previous best season in terms of fWAR was 3.3 in 2021.
My guess is that due to Swanson’s booming performance this season, the Braves are hesitant to offer him what some of the other top shortstops got on the open market and I’m not sure he deserves it. With that said, there’s enough evidence over the past few seasons to indicate that Swanson is one of the league’s top shortstops, and any team that values his intangibles will offer him something ridiculous if he comes out on open market.
On offense, Swanson has consistently been one of the best players in his position over the past four seasons. In 2019 he started the year in tears but a heel injury forced him to miss significant time and when he returned he was already a different player. The following season, he led bWAR during a shortened 60-game campaign. 2021 started off incredibly slow, but he ended the year on fire and finished with 27 homers. This brings us to this season, which we have already discussed in detail. Swanson was nothing short of fantastic.
There are so many variables when it comes to Dansby Swanson’s next contract that it’s almost impossible to predict them. He could have settled for a hometown discount considering he was born and raised in Atlanta. Brave has a potential backup in Vaughn Grissom. Swanson works for the same agency as Freddie Freeman. And he’s having the best year of his career.
Putting it all together, these negotiations could go in a million different directions. However, I stand by what Swanson is worth, which is how much the team will pay him if he goes public. There will be no shortage of applicants for his services and the bidding will bring in over $20 million a year, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he gets paid $25 million a season on his next contract, especially if he tests free rein.