What Dansby Swanson’s deal means for Cubs, Braves.
Free-agent shortstop Dansby Swanson and the Chicago Cubs are in agreement on a seven-year, $177 million contract that includes a full no-trade clause and no opt-outs, a source familiar with the deal tells FanSided.
It became increasingly clear throughout the offseason that Swanson, 28, would not return to the Atlanta Braves. Their offer was well short of what the Cubs and others were offering, sources said, and it marks the second consecutive offseason in which Atlanta has lost a franchise cornerstone, with Freddie Freeman departing for the Los Angeles Dodgers last winter.
Let’s break down each side of the deal.
Swanson gives the Cubs the long-term shortstop that they have been looking for in recent seasons. They kicked the tires on Carlos Correa and other shortstops last off-season. But they were in a much better position to spend big on a shortstop this winter — and Swanson was identified as someone the organization wanted.
The interest was mutual. After spending big on Jameson Taillon, and having a young core of players in the majors and minors, the Cubs are in a position to have an extended window of being competitive. Besides, Swanson’s wife, Mallory Pugh, is a soccer star for the Chicago Red Stars and allows the two to be together during their respective seasons.
The fit made too much sense for both sides. For Swanson, he capitalized on a career season in 2022, where he hit .277/.329/.447 with 25 home runs and a 116 wRC+ in 696 plate appearances, and becomes the last of the Big Four shortstops to come off the market.
Swanson, of course, will improve them offensively. But a key to this deal for the Cubs was that with Swanson at shortstop and Nico Hoerner at second base, they will arguably have the best defensive middle infield in baseball.
To replace Swanson, the Braves could make young infielder Vaughn Grissom their everyday shortstop. They also have Orlando Arcia, who was previously the Milwaukee Brewers’ starting shortstop, on the active roster. So they have internal options.
But Alex Anthopoulos, the Braves President of Baseball Operations, is one of baseball’s most aggressive executives. And with Anthopoulos having a good idea most of the offseason that Swanson was likely headed elsewhere, he surely had plenty of time to evaluate external options.
So who might those options be?
The Braves have an interest in the Brewers’ Willy Adames, but he is extremely unlikely to be traded at this time, according to sources. Among other options could include the Tampa Bay Rays’ Taylor Walls, the San Diego Padres’ Ha-Seong Kim (also unlikely to be traded), the Cleveland Guardians’ Amed Rosario, the New York Yankees’ Isiah Kiner-Falefa and the St. Louis Cardinals’ Paul DeJong.
Replacing Swanson, both on the field and in the clubhouse will be an incredibly difficult task for Anthopoulos. He did it last season by acquiring Matt Olson to replace Freeman. But there are no clear-cut options at shortstop, meaning that the Braves’ lead executive has his work cut out for him.