Braves' Dansby Swanson said future isn't on his mind right now

Dansby Swanson? Carlos Correa? Xander Bogaerts? Trea Turner? The Braves have an obvious vacancy at a key defensive position and will, in all likelihood, be linked to the above 4 names until said vacancy is filled, or all are off the table.

But is that the route that Alex Anthopoulous will take?

He’s spoken quite openly about free agency and how it’s not a great way to build a roster. For the most part, it’s filled with players past their prime that want what they were worth when they were younger.

I get it. From an MLB player’s perspective, I’d want to get mine too after being paid league minimum for 3-4 years and via arbitration for 3 more. But from Alex and other GM’s perspective, it’s a course where, at some point, it’s likely to cost more than it gained. Anthopoulos knows this and it’s why we see him giving out huge extensions only to the young players as the veterans get 1-2 years with club options. Since becoming the Braves GM in November of 2017, the only contracts that AA has given out to free agents that are 3+ years have been to Marcell Ozuna and Will Smith… those didn’t age well.

So, is it likely that AA breaks the mold and grabs one of Dansby Swanson, Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, or Xander Bogaerts? Or, is it likely that he signs a lesser shortstop like Aledmys Diaz? For me, the answer might be neither are likely.

At this point, the faithful know how Anthopoulos works. It’s a recipe that has now brought 5 straight division championships and 1 World Series title. And while we might see AA go and grab that big superstar this year, the outcome that might be most likely to happen could be the Matt Olson route and AA trades for a shortstop and extends him right away. In today’s piece, we will take a look at 2 players who could be on the Braves radar should they go a familiar route.

Braves SS Trade (and Extend) Candidates

Willy Adames

Willy Adames is a really good ballplayer that shares a lot in common with the player that vacated SS in Atlanta. He rates high defensively, hits the ball hard pretty regularly (which includes dingers), strikes out a lot, and has good speed. Defensively, Adames has a helluva arm and that could make all the difference when it comes to the shift being shifted out of existence. Adames is under team control through 2024 and would cost a pretty penny, but if AA could pull it off, he could possibly get him to sign a 6-7 year extension, buying out 4-5 free agent years.

Nico Hoerner

Hoerner is an absolute beast in the field and on the bases, but is a fairly punchless bat that did sneak 10 dingers out of the park in 2022. He is under team control through 2025 and the Cubs are going to be terrible during that time, so Hoerner could be a player they’d like to sell high on. Having a .700 OPS SS batting 9th that can steal bases in front of Ronald Acuna Jr. sounds pretty neat. Worth noting, Hoerner could be on the block as the Cubs could be on the hunt for bigger fish.

Final Thoughts

Both players here have skillsets that could compliment this team, especially if they’re ok with dealing a few young players to lock in a future long-term SS. Would one of the top 4 on the market be better? Sure… but there are other holes and Braves could go big elsewhere should they settle more just “good” at short.