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Dansby Swanson’s free agency figures to be one of the top storylines in baseball this winter.
After all, he won a World Series with the Braves in 2021 and is fresh off his first all-star selection and Gold Glove in 2022. He was also the only player in the majors to start 162 games this past season while also having the best offensive season of his career.
Dansby Swanson free agency 2022
Now that Swanson’s a free agent, several teams should have considerable interest in his services. Even with three other big-time shortstops on the open market and a few trade candidates, there should be high demand during Dansby Swanson’s free agency.
The contract projections for what Swanson could earn are approaching $200 million. But where will Swanson end up signing? Let’s take a closer look at some of the most likely candidates to sign Swanson this winter.
As the incumbent, the Braves are the obvious favorite in the Dansby Swanson free agency sweepstakes. With the way Swanson performed in 2022, Atlanta can’t be eager to let him go. On the other hand, there are three other notable shortstops on the market.
Is it possible the Braves rate Trea Turner or Carlos Correa higher than Swanson? Keep in mind the Braves have already given out several contract extensions to young players who haven’t been in the majors as long as Swanson. Could that indicate that he’s less of a priority in their eyes?
They might also want Swanson to give them a little bit of a hometown discount, as Swanson’s ultimate destination could come down to money.
Based on most MLB offseason predictions, the Giants are poised to spend a lot of money this winter.
While they still have veteran Brandon Crawford under contract for one more season, that may not stop them from going after a shortstop like Swanson in free agency. At the end of his career, Crawford could be asked to slide over to second base for the reigning Gold Glove winner in Swanson.
Also, Swanson played one season in college at second base, so perhaps he could temporarily play the keystone. Either way, the Giants will be a team to watch with Swanson and the other big-name shortstops on the market.
A year ago, the Dodgers signed longtime Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman, so perhaps they’re eyeing another member of the Braves. With Trea Turner hitting the free-agent market as well this winter, Los Angeles has an opening at shortstop and plenty of money to spend. Swanson is a little younger than Turner, which could lead the Dodgers to prefer him over Turner.
Keep in mind that Los Angeles is always in the running to be the highest bidder when it comes to free agents. If the Dodgers decide that Swanson is their top choice, they would be favored to win the bidding war, just as they did with Freeman last offseason.
The Angels are surely at a crossroads with Mike Trout getting older and Shohei Ohtani one year away from free agency. If they want to make some noise in 2023 and not trade Ohtani this winter, the Halos have a lot of work to do.
The shortstop position was a glaring weakness for them in 2022, so if the Angels decide to spend money this winter, that could be a position they target. That will likely put Swanson on their radar. But whether Swanson will want to sign with a team that has struggled to contend and appears to be at a crossroads is a different question.
The Cubs are another team that could be a big spender this winter. Nico Hoerner had a solid 2022 campaign as Chicago’s primary shortstop, although he’s not the same caliber of player as Swanson.
Hoerner could also move to second base or become a trade chip if the Cubs sign a shortstop like Swanson. Of course, the Cubs have other needs other than shortstop. But that might point them toward Swanson, who could be a little cheaper than Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, or Carlos Correa.
Minnesota could be a sleeper for a player like Swanson. Remember they pulled off a surprise move by signing Carlos Correa last winter, even though Correa opted out of his deal after one year to return to the open market this offseason.
One has to wonder if the Twins can convince Swanson to take a similar deal. Much like Correa, Swanson could go to Minnesota with an opt-out clause in his contract that would allow him to return to the free-agent market in a year or two. He’s young enough to still be a hot commodity in a year or two and land a long-term deal. That way, he would likely be the top shortstop available rather than competing with three other bonafide stars.
While the Phillies did get to the World Series with Bryson Stott, there’s no question that they’d love a star shortstop in their lineup.
Swanson’s defense would surely help what was a weakness for Philadelphia throughout 2022. The Phillies would also love the idea of signing Swanson away from the Braves and hurting one of their top competitors at the same time they improve themselves.
St. Louis isn’t the most obvious destination for one of the all-star shortstops on the market this winter, but the Cards can’t be ruled out completely.
Paul DeJong has hit under .200 in back-to-back seasons and posted an OPS under .700 in three straight seasons. The club could be losing patience with him. Meanwhile, Tommy Edman is more of a versatile utility man than a full-time shortstop. That could put St. Louis in the market for a shortstop with Swanson being a good fit for them.