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With Dansby Swanson in a contract year, here is the compelling case for the Atlanta Braves to sell high on their borderline All-Star shortstop.
While much of Atlanta Braves fans’ attention is occupied with the on-going Freddie Freeman free agency saga, they need to come to grips over Dansby Swanson entering in a contract year.
Atlanta traded for the Marietta native and former Vanderbilt star in a blockbuster trade with the hapless Arizona Diamondbacks in Dec. 2015. Swanson debuted with the big-league club in 2016 and has been the Braves’ starting shortstop since the 2017 campaign. Though he is a fan favorite and has been a big part of this team’s core on the ride to national prominence, he could be dealt.
Demetrius Bell of Talking Chop outlined how Colorado Rockies free-agent shortstop Trevor Story could be an upgrade over Swanson long-term. While moving off Swanson and then signing Story in his free agency to a massive contract is almost certainly not going to happen, there are reasons why the Braves could potentially look to do this. Should they do it, though? What is the upside?
Atlanta Braves: Compelling case to move off Dansby Swanson this offseason
Look. If the Braves were to part ways with Swanson prematurely, it would have to be a for a player of Story’s caliber, at minimum. While Swanson has never been an All-Star, Story has been a perennial one, albeit playing for a losing organization in Denver. Swanson may have a great glove and a powerful bat, but there are stretches where he cannot hit a floating beachball at the plate.
Story is the more proven and consistent hitter, but there is a chance his numbers are inflated by playing 81 home games at altitude. Though it is hard to argue against Story being an upgrade over Swanson, signing him means Freddie Freeman is gone because the Braves are only going to spend big on one free agent this winter, if at all. Simply put, Freeman and Story will never be teammates.
In the extreme hypothetical scenario that sees Story in Braves uniform and Freeman and Swanson playing elsewhere, the idea would be to invest heavily in Austin Riley. Whether he sticks at third base or moves over to first remains to be seen. Unlike with Freeman if the Braves somehow blow this, they would receive some compensation for Swanson ahead of his contract year this season.
Ultimately, this is not going to happen. Liberty Media is not trading Marietta’s native son the year after he helped bring home a World Series championship. Swanson is not the player of Freeman, but he is at his very core Atlanta. The karmic implications of trading a lifelong Braves fan who happens to play shortstop for them is not a can of worms anybody should want to pry open.
As cool as it would be to see Story in Braves uniform, this is not a video game, as this is real life.