The biggest free agent need for the Braves is, quite clearly, shortstop. Dansby Swanson is a free agent. Can they afford to keep him?
Dansby Swanson had his best offensive season when he needed to most. Atlanta lost Freddie Freeman this offseason, and Ronald Acuña’s return to normalcy was far from guaranteed.
Swanson delivered and then some in a contract year. He slashed .277/.329/.447 with a .776 OPS+. ‘The Sheriff’ made the All-Star Team and won a Gold Glove, both firsts for him, while hitting 25 home runs and nearly breaking the 100 RBI mark.
The 28-year-old is atop the Braves free agent priorities. However, that was the case with Freddie Freeman a year ago, as well, and we all know how that ended.
What does Atlanta general manager Alex Anthopoulos have to do to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself?
Dansby Swanson contract demands for Braves
Per Spotrac, Swanson’s market value is just short of $25 million per season. Given this is his first opportunity to test free agency, we can assume that his representatives will ask for $30 million at first.
Swanson is young enough to receive a five-to-seven year offer from the Braves. However, this matter could be complicated by the fact that Swanson is represented by Casey Close — the same agent who led Freeman to Los Angeles last offseason. Freeman has since dropped Close as an agent.
Swanson plays a premium position, and therefore ought to earn his worth. Expect the Braves to offer low at first, but eventually be swayed in Dansby’s direction unless they have a reliable replacement, such as Trea Turner or Carlos Correa, lined up.
As much as Atlanta may talk up Vaughn Grissom, he is no Swanson.
A six-or-seven-year contract offer worth around $27 million per season should get the job done.