Dansby Swanson is the Final Remaining Free Agent Shortstop, Where Will He Play Next Season?
The most important storyline of this MLB offseason was where the four major free agent shortstops, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, and Dansby Swanson, would play next season. Three of those players have agreed to contracts, but Swanson remains a free agent.
There are multiple teams interested in signing Swanson, and the amount of teams interested has increased due to Dansby Swanson being the last available free-agent shortstop. His decision will determine whether some teams have a successful offseason, or whether they enter next season after a disappointing few months.
Swanson wasn’t drafted by the Atlanta Braves, he was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the No.1 overall pick in 2015, but he has spent almost his entire career in the Braves organization after being traded to Atlanta only six months after the 2015 draft.
Since his major league debut in August of 2016, Swanson has spent almost his entire career as the Braves starting shortstop. He has hit 102 home runs as a member of the Braves, in addition to winning one Gold Glove Award and the 2021 World Series.
Last season was the best of Swanson’s career so far. He continued to play excellent defense, winning his first Gold Glove, although he could have won that award more than once over the past six years. He also had the best offensive year of his career, finishing the season with an OPS+ of 115, 25 home runs, and the most total bases of his career.
Swanson received MVP votes after his excellent season, and, unsurprisingly, the Braves have been involved in conversations for Swanson to return to Atlanta. After Freddie Freeman departed for the Los Angeles Dodgers during the last offseason, it’s possible Atlanta would want to make sure another important member of their franchise doesn’t depart in free agency.
However, Vaughn Grissom made his major league debut for the Braves last season and played phenomenally well, finishing with a 121 OPS+ in 41 games. It is possible Atlanta would prefer Grissom to be their starting shortstop next season.
Expectations for the Cubs’ offseason were high at the end of October. Chicago had finished the season well, and seemingly had significant financial flexibility as the offseason began.
However, while the Cubs were expected to be one of the most active teams this offseason, they have instead been one of the least active. Chicago has signed Jameson Taillon and Cody Bellinger, among other players, but hasn’t had success in agreeing to a contract with one of their significant free-agent targets, specifically the free-agent shortstops.
Hoerner was a candidate for the NL shortstop Gold Glove award alongside Swanson, and if the Cubs were able to sign Swanson he and Hoerner would combine to be one of the best defensive middle infields in the sport. That would be exciting for an organization that has seen significant progress in terms of developing pitching during the past few years.
If the Cubs don’t sign Swanson, it will be disappointing for their front office and fanbase, who expected this offseason to bring significant improvement to their roster. Swanson’s decision, and whether or not he signs with Chicago, could define the Cubs’ offseason this year.
Boston Red Sox
When the offseason began, it seemed unlikely that the Red Sox would try to extend Bogaerts, or that they would be involved in contract negotiations for the other free agent shortstops.
However, Boston tried to extend Bogaerts, reportedly finishing second in negotiations behind the San Diego Padres. After his departure, there were rumors the Red Sox could attempt to sign one of the other available shortstops.
Now, the Red Sox’ attention has reportedly shifted to Dansby Swanson, who they have reportedly begun contract discussions with. The AL East was one of the best divisions in baseball last season, and every other team in the division has improved significantly so far this offseason.
Boston finished in fifth place in the division last season, but still finished with a solid 78-84 record. The Red Sox believe they can reach the postseason next year, and reaching an agreement with Swanson would help them accomplish that goal and lessen the impact of Bogaerts’ departure dramatically.
Similarly to the Red Sox, one of the most important free agent shortstops, in the Twins’ case Carlos Correa, played for Minnesota last season. The Twins made one of the largest contract offers in the franchise’s history in an attempt to resign Correa, but he ultimately chose to agree to a contract with the San Francisco Giants.
Correa’s departure affects Minnesota’s plans for next season, but the organization already signed Christian Vazquez this offseason, and believes they can reach the playoffs next year. Signing Swanson would mean they replace Correa with another excellent shortstop.
It is already clear that the Twins are willing to agree to significant contracts this offseason; based on their reported offer to Correa. Swanson makes perfect sense as another possible free agent to help improve their lineup and defense.
The AL Central is extremely competitive, and Swanson could help the Twins win the division next year. Now that Correa has agreed to a contract with the Giants, Minnesota is likely one of the teams most interested in signing Swanson.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are another team that saw their shortstop depart this offseason, as Trea Turner left the organization and agreed to a contract with the Phillies a few weeks ago. Signing Dansby Swanson could help replace the loss of Turner in the Dodgers’ excellent lineup next year.
Los Angeles values defense, and Swanson is one of the best defensive players at his position in the sport. Swanson also already has several years of experience playing alongside Freeman when they played with each other in Atlanta.
However, Gavin Lux is a former top prospect who Los Angeles believes could perform extremely well at shortstop next season. Lux had the best year of his career offensively last season and was an important contributor to the Dodgers’ success while playing multiple positions.
Next offseason, the Dodgers are expected to be one of the teams most interested in signing Shohei Ohtani, who currently plays only a few miles away for the Los Angeles Angels. Any decisions the Dodgers make this offseason will likely be affected by the Dodgers’ desire to maintain their financial flexibility next year.
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