In continuing our extension candidate series, we look at a player that has shown spurts of greatness but hasn’t broken through. Today’s Atlanta Braves Extension Candidate, Dansby Swanson.

Background on Dansby Swanson

This is a hard one because we don’t really know who Dansby Swanson is, still, and his arb years are quickly ticking off. After arriving on the scene in 2016 with a promising 145 PAs of a .302/.361/.442 line and what looked like quality defense as well, 2017 was an abysmal year. A .232/.312/.324 line and, at least according to the metrics, uninspiring defense meant that Dansby was considered a below replacement level player in his first full season. And over the next two seasons, he would battle injuries, continue to improve as a hitter, but see a declining walk rate from his bad 2017 season while having fluctuating defensive numbers. What a mess.

He’ll go into his age-26 season arbitration eligible for the first time and an unreliable past to predict his future earnings. So while he’s certainly not a great candidate for extension, I decided I still would take a crack at it anyway. By age-26, though, Atlanta is not going to be willing to commit lots of money to him, and you’d have to think that Dansby is going to begin losing confidence that a huge contract is waiting for him once he gets to free agency.

Next year, Dansby will make $3.3M. He then has two more arb years remaining. I would think that Atlanta would be willing to let him ride at least one more year after this year. Then you get into non-tender territory as he approaches his final year before free agency. But as long as he doesn’t implode, the Braves will probably keep him around until free agency.

The Contract Proposal For Dansby Swanson

There’s still tremendous talent with Dansby, and you may be willing to chalk up some of the struggles over the last couple years to injury. I have no delusions that he’ll ever become the player that Arizona thought they were getting when they spent their #1 pick on him, but he could still become a 2-2.5 WAR player starting this year. So the Braves could buy out 2 of his free agency years, and give him a 5 year, $31.3M deal. It would break down this way:

  • $3.3M in 2020 (Already agreed upon)
  • $5M in 2021
  • $7M in 2022
  • $8M in 2023 (His first free agency year)
  • $8M in 2024

If I’m Dansby, I’m taking this deal, especially the way the first three seasons have gone. If I’m the Braves, this looks sort of like the Julio Teheran deal where if he makes his floor, he’s probably worth it, but if he turns into close to the player that we think he might be, then it’s a steal.

Thoughts? If you liked this piece on Braves Extension Candidate Dansby Swanson, check out all of our Braves Extension Candidates here!

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