Braves News: Breakdown of AA’s Interview with Jeff Schultz on Dansby Swanson

Dansby Swanson (@LieutenantDans7) / Twitter

In an interview with Jeff Schultz in regards to losing Dansby Swanson to the Cubs in free agency, Alex Anthopoulos answered all the hard questions about losing a clubhouse leader for the 2nd year in a row. In today’s piece, without jacking all the goods from the article, I’ll hit the highlights, lowlights, and discuss what this could mean for the future of the team.

Schultz Goes for the Jugular

In the beginning of the piece, Schultz starts by giving AA props by discussing his huge successes since becoming the Braves GM and how he’s always been willing to answer the tough questions.

There’s no tone in this question and I don’t know what was implied or not implied in this question, but Schultz started the interview with a doozy:

So let’s get right to it: Why didn’t you want Dansby Swanson?

Jeff Schultz

AA channeled his inner-Jedi to answer the question without animosity, but essentially admitted that he tried to work with Dansby but the gap was just too wide to overcome. He then went on to compare negotiations with Dansby to the 2020 negotiations with Josh Donaldson.

AA was adamant losing Dansby was a big blow in on-field leadership adding that he is as professional and selfless as they come. Some specific examples were that he never once complained about moving around in the lineup and never once came to AA or Snitker with selfish mentalities.

Two Things that Stuck Out

The Mention of Josh Donaldson

It’s probably nothing, but the mention of Josh Donaldson was interesting. When Sean Murphy’s name was dropped earlier in the offseason as being a landing spot for the Braves, it was quickly doused by “sources”. IMO, it was an obvious ploy by the Braves FO to essentially tell Mr. Beane, “This is our final offer”. Beane came ’round and Sean Murphy is a Brave. Could mentioning Donaldson be an AA Freudian slip?

Ok, I’m not expecting Josh Donaldson to become a Brave, but if the Yankees wanted to rid themselves of Donaldson, it could be in the Braves best interest to inquire about an Ozuna for Donaldson swap. Ozuna is owed more $ than Donaldson so either the Braves would have to eat some $ or provide an extra player to offset the cost. I still believe that this would be the best way to get rid of Ozuna, and the Yankees, while they have no real reason to just cut ties with Donaldson for off the field antics, they would definitely have an excuse to immediately release Ozuna and just eat the money. If this were to happen, Donaldson could provide the Braves some DH ABs and allow Austin Riley to get some work at 1B and DH, allowing some extra field rest for both Riley and Matt Olson. Pie in the sky, I know, but it makes some sense.

The Braves Were Willing to Spend

While the gap for the Dansby offer from the Braves was just too big to overcome, it doesn’t mean the Braves were not willing to spend. Dansby was willing to take much less to stay with the Braves and that should bring hope that AA is willing to spend some more money (or swing a trade) to strengthen a roster that could use upgrades in several spots.

I think AA will spend. Let’s hope that our Braves Christmas wishes come true in late 2022 or early 2023.

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

56 thoughts on “Braves News: Breakdown of AA’s Interview with Jeff Schultz on Dansby Swanson”

  1. Who do you trade? Farm system pretty bare. If he had 140 mill to send to Dansby, he still has that mone.

  2. Few thoughts here:

    1) Minor thing, but Billy Beane isn’t in charge of the A’s anymore. He took an advisory role. David Forst is the guy AA was negotiating with regarding Murphy (and probably Olson, as well).

    2) I wouldn’t read the mention of Donaldson as anything other than a reference to an older negotiation whose scars have mostly healed. Donaldson only makes sense to the Braves as a bad contract swap for Ozuna — but that swap doesn’t make any sense for the Yankees. Donaldson and Ozuna are probably both done as productive hitters, but Donaldson is owed less money on a shorter term and has greater defensive flexibility, so the Braves would have to pay down the difference. You might has well just release Ozuna if you’re not going to save any money by trading him.

    3) It’s less that the Braves don’t have any money to spend and more that they will only spend it on exactly their terms; not a dime more. Which sounds like a good policy in a vacuum, but it basically means you’re counting yourself out on all top-tier free agents and most medium-tier ones. Is it really spending if the only things you will ever shell out for are undermarket extensions (which require you to have the player in the first place, so you can never make a short-term improvement this way) and one-year “prove it” deals? Maybe technically, but it’s not really what I had in mind.

    And, again, you can say AA will spend, but he’s grocery shopping on Christmas Eve at this point. The proverbial shelves are bare. There’s no one to acquire even if he banged his head and decided to raise payroll to $400 million.

  3. After signing Correa, Fangraphs has the Mets 1st and the Braves 4th.

    https://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=ALL&teamid=25

    The good news:

    The Mets have two very old pitchers at the top of the rotation and I don’t see them both staying healthy all year. Their rotation has great depth, but their postseason success is really going to hinge on the two guys at the top.

    The Braves have top five players in the NL at:

    C
    1B
    2B
    3B
    CF
    RF

    Steamer has Grissom at 2.2 WAR with a 111 wrc+ next year. I don’t buy it, but it’s still encouraging and I’m sure the Braves have projected something similar.

    The bad news:

    Until proven otherwise, there’s no reason to think the Mets will stop spending like this and it’s something we’ll have to deal with for the foreseeable future. Their farm system is middle of the pack but they have pieces to trade so the upgrades might not be over.

    We’re projected to have the worst LF and DH production of any contender next year and we’ve done very little to improve either position.

    AA’s strategy of short term, high AAV deals may no longer work in today’s new market place. Here’s my issue: it was apparent pretty quickly Swanson wasn’t coming back given the shortstop market so why weren’t we in on a LF like Haniger?

    I’ve really enjoyed the Braves depth over the last few seasons but I’m worried next year’s roster is too top heavy. There’s no Grissom to step up and fill in at a decent level. I don’t think there’s a signing the Braves can make that will change that — except maybe Conforto — nor is there a significant trade that moves the needle outside of trading Grissom and the remaining pitching prospects.

  4. @2
    1. You’re right. Mistake on my part.
    2. I said all that in the piece.
    3. Whether we like it or not, that’s AA’s policy that he’s spoken about several times. On one hand, it’s a way to avoid crippling AAV’s later down the road. On the other, it severely limits his market, especially now that there’s very little on the farm to send to anyone.

    I still believe AA will spend. He’ll do what he’s done so many times before and wait out the market until there’s 2-3 decent options left and send them all the same offer and see who bites.

  5. There’s no point in swapping bad players. Just don’t play them and eat the money. Let’s be real though, they’re gonna play Ozuna for a few months regardless, just to see if that 2% chance of miracle rebound happens.

  6. Was Josh Donaldson a bad guy or a bad teammate when he was with Atlanta? Aside from that “Jackie Robinson” dustup with Tim Anderson this year, I don’t remember him being a problem. I certainly would rather see him on the Braves than Ozuna, who can go off the deep end at any time.

  7. Greetings from Virginia Beach…

    FWIW, I just watched an entire season of Josh Donaldson up close & yes, I’m afraid he appears to be toast. He just turned 37. He can still pick it fine at 3B, but he’s a strikeout machine w/ quickly diminishing power.

    #7
    From all I’ve read, Donaldson is one of the more disliked players in MLB.

    From previous thread about Euro soccer…

    While it’s true that the well-heeled teams win their Euro leagues year after year (& we can certainly debate the merits of that situation), the biggest difference between Euro soccer leagues & US professional sports is that, over here, you can finish in 1st place all you want, but you still have to perform in the playoffs to win a title. The post-season is an equalizer, of sorts.

    There are no playoffs over there. You finish 1st & that’s that… you get a trophy.

  8. Moustakas DFA’d and Hosmer released. Either could be had for the MLB minimum. Now, I don’t think Moustakas is worth even that, but Hosmer could be a decent DH. These are the kind of moves AA could make at no cost. And there will be more.

    With the players we have locked up already, we really only need complimentary pieces and depth. That’s also what I like about Anderson and Duvall.

  9. @7, Donaldson was always a red-ass who rubbed plenty of people the wrong way. Of course, he hit like a near-MVP in Atlanta, which I’m sure made him a lot easier to live with. He can’t perform like that any more.

    That said, Ububba, is it possible that he’s one of many people who played like they were toast in New York, and then went elsewhere and discovered they had a bit left in the tank? Randy Johnson, Javier Vazquez, Joey Gallo… what do you think?

    The interesting thing about that AA interview is how often he brought up Dansby hitting in different places in the lineup, which felt a bit like subtly negging his offensive consistency. Which, of course, gets at the biggest flaw in Dansby’s game, and the only reason he didn’t make $200 million like everybody else.

  10. Hosmer was overrated at a hitter even when he was quote-unquote “good,” but the worst part is that he apparently believes his own hype. He reportedly laughed off suggestions that it might not be a good idea to hit so many ground balls. Dude has nothing to offer a competitive team.

  11. AA seems to be betting heavily on the strategy of player development, locking up the good ones while young, and adding pieces around the edges to complement that core. Big ticket free agents seem to be out of that picture.

  12. #7
    Donaldson? He strikes me as a pretty cocky guy, so I’m not sure he even thinks he’s done. Maybe he can contribute somewhere for a period of time, but I just wouldn’t want him on my team anymore.

    I think Gallo had a coupla good weeks after he arrived in LA, but overall, he was about as terrible there as he was in The Bronx. Perhaps he’s been scarred by his experience in NY, I don’t know… but I’m surprised any team signed him, to be honest. I know he’s only 29, but (outside of BJ Upton) I don’t think I’ve ever seen any starting player as bad as he was for one full year. His performance scarred the fans, as well.

    When this is all over, the Mets will have spent a fortune, but I’m still not sure they’re really gonna be better than the Braves and/or the Phillies. I think we’ll whip Uncle Steve’s ass, just like we whipped Fred Coupon.

  13. Out of curiosity, all the SS talk I hear is of Grissom switching from 2B, but is there any reason why the Braves would switch him rather than switching Ozzie? Or letting them both play some SS and seeing who does better?

  14. @12 — I mean, okay, but he forgot to fill out 33% of the lineup card. Kinda seems like that’s something that should be addressed when you’re working out the master plan.

    @14 — Taking a guy coming off hand and foot injuries and moving him to the more demanding position in the first year of the shift ban seems kind of bad.

  15. @17 c’mon, where’s your sense of adventure?

    On the topic of Dansby, I’m disappointed but not surprised that he left. I don’t know that re-signing him is worth that price tag. Great guy. Great year last year. But like all of these deals, let’s check back in four years and see how much value he’s providing the Cubbies.

  16. I would’ve stuck Grissom in LF last year. No idea if that’s a possibility next season or not, but it seems better than what we’re currently looking at.

  17. To state the obvious, AA is now totally out of sync with other big-team GMs in being unwilling to do long contracts. They’ve created a market in which he’s just not willing to participate.

    Maybe he really is a genius and he’ll be proven right, and they wrong, in the fullness of time. But if not . . . well, he’ll always have 2021, right? That doesn’t mean much to a certain breed of greedy fan (of which I somewhat ashamedly count myself).

    I can’t see the Braves finishing 4th in the division. I can totally see them finishing 3rd. I’d even say that’s the likeliest outcome.

  18. I keep hearing the Braves will spend more but I just don’t see it. AA has 26MM tied up this year in Rosario and Ozuna, and I think he gives them a chance for a bounce back season. I don’t think that’s beyond the realm of possibility. If they fail, he can always pivot to a trade for a Duvall/Anderson type that would come at minimal prospect cost. Also, outside of Judge and maybe Haniger, there really wasn’t much on the outfield front that inspired much enthusiasm.

    I also think he wants to see Grissom for an extended period knowing he can plug in Arcia in if he has to. If Grissom can just make the routine plays and hit .275 with a little pop and youthful enthusiasm, Atlanta will be fine at SS.

  19. Exactly. My idea is to make them live together in one house and recover their salaries based on both baseball and the reality series.

  20. Even if the Braves have a 200m+ payroll, none of us would feel the Braves are spending more if the Mets‘ payroll is 400-500m.

  21. OK ..see ya in April ..Braves gonna not do anything to improve LF or SS .so we will be playing ofr 3rd in division behinf the Mets and Phils who arent afraid to take those leaps of faith … so we will be back maybe after we rid the 20 mil on Morton, the 18 mil on Ozuna and the 9 mil on Rosario .. maybe we will spend that money on a SS or LF in free agency in 2025 .. otherwise we are non players till then.

  22. …And Conforto’s gone. (Although it is to the Giants, so I guess the Furcal Rule still applies at this point.)

  23. I recall a Bill James study from long ago where he showed that a hitter who took a year off always returned about 1 level lower in ability, i.e., a player performing at HOF level would come back as an all-star, a plus regular would come back as a 2nd division starter, etc.
    Comforto was usually a plus regular (about 16 WAR in 6 full seasons) and is thus unlikely to be better than a good platoon player/bad full time guy at this point. The Giants are unlikely to be improved by this deal. In favor of the signing is that their coaches have unlocked a ton of talent from flawed players the last few years so at least that might help him.

  24. ok enought of Dansby on all the sites ,, hes gone .. Braves didnt want to pay .. tired of hearing about it .. on yardbarker braves site , on here , on ajc braves page … enough .. move on .. yes he wanted to come back ..ok we got it ..Braves wont spend to be better when other teams in division have passed us ..we understand that .. its always been that way .. so move on to spring training .. and trying to figure out and hope somebody plays way over their head at SS and LF … but if they dont … we will be back in 2025.

  25. 2023 Lineup – vs Righty
    1. Acuna – RF
    2. Harris – CF
    3. Riley – 3B
    4. Olson- 3B
    5. D’Arnaud -DH
    6. Albies – 2B
    7. Murphy – C
    8. Rosario – Lf
    9. Grissom- SS

    vs Lefty
    1. Acuna – RF
    2. Albies – 2B
    3. Riley – 3B
    4. Olson -1B
    5. Murphy – C
    6. Ozuna – DH
    7. Harris – CF
    8. Luplow – LF
    9. Grissom – SS

  26. It takes a special type of fan to look at the team the Braves have right now and say “but what about left fieeeeeeeeeld”*

    It’s a good team that will compete. Even with the big bad Mets.

    *I’m referencing the complaining. Speculating on who will play LF is fun. My bet is on a bounce-back year from Rosario who will hit .250 with 20-HR power. Great numbers from your #8 hitter.

  27. I like the idea of a Rosario bounce back. Also, if Ozuna’s Sept/Oct numbers are any indication, he may be ready to hit again. My guess is that eye/hand/wrist issues take more time to recover from.

  28. @40 I feel like like all the dudes we traded to get Jimenez and Murphy should have been enough to net Bryan Reynolds – but my suspicion is that the Pirates are holding out for higher-ceiling prospects than we had to give.* The secondary benefit of acquiring Reynolds is that it would have spelled the end of Ozuna’s days in LF, where he is Klesko-level bad on defense. It also would have given the Braves a solution in LF through 2025 at least (Reynolds is not an FA until 2026).

    Note – William Contreras is no longer a ‘prospect’ but I’m still shocked that we traded him so cheaply. The dude can really hit – I can’t see how that was not enough to make him a centerpiece in a trade to get Reynolds.

    Also – as shiny as the Mets’ roster looks, I still think the NL East is basically a toss-up, with the Mets and Braves at the top and the Phils just below. The Mets have substantial downside potential relative to the world-beater expectations, considering (a) how old their team is and (b) the fact that they’re THE METS. Over a 162 game season, crazy things can happen and franchises that tend to self-sabotage like the squad in Queens find ample opportunities to do so.

    My hope (prediction?) is that Grissom is the long-term solution at SS, though I don’t think he’ll be a star right away. Then again, neither was Dansby, right? We’ve also acquired a ton of different guys for LF so hopefully somebody(s) step up. It will be a whole lot easier to win the division if we can get at least 1-2 WAR out of LF.

  29. What if we trade Grissom, Ian Anderson, Bryce Elder, and a throw in low level prospect for Reynolds. And for shortstop we trade d’Arnaud and Shuster for Kim from the Padres. Then sign a backup catcher. Leaves us thin for alternative options for 5th starter I guess. Other than that it seems like it could work.

  30. in my opinion, that would be enough to get him. It would definitely leave a black hole at shortstop, and there really isn’t anything else in the system so it would be left to free agency for quite a while, which seems scary, considering the new rules against shifting.

  31. Reynolds, based on early projections, has about $60M of excess value.
    Anderson $11.4, Elder $15.3, Grissom $30.8, Murphy or Ritchie $5.6
    The math adds up but I would never make that trade if only because Grissom might be a $100M property this time next year while Reynolds is a depreciating asset. Of course Pittsburgh might not want the trade either as they are insisting on 2 top prospects

  32. I understand why AA might want to keep his powder dry. Better to hold on to what little depth we have instead of trading it for a few more WAR, let Grissom/Arcia show what they’ve got, and trade for the likes of Adames or whatever our greatest need is later.

    I’d guess if he and Snitker could choose, and if we happen to be trailing the Mets in the standings, they’d rather hang close enough to them to keep them uncomfortable than go all-out to chase them down like we did last year. It’s not like it’s easy to will a baseball team into taking such an approach. But just saying. I suspect we realize that having the good fortune to be hot at the right time overrides the wildcard series disadvantage–and the Mets may not realize that.

    It hurts me to say all this because winning a tough division, especially with a balanced schedule, is a more impressive achievement to me than winning the crapshoot.

  33. I doubt AA makes another high profile trade. The cupboards have really been stripped down with the prospect graduations and trades for Murphy and Olson.

  34. If you assume Vaughn Grissom is a quality major league shortstop right this moment, there isn’t. If he’s not, though, there totally is. And it’s completely reasonable to believe he’s not.

    Anyway, I’m sick of complaining about the Braves’ offseason, so instead let’s point and laugh at the Blue Jays’ offseason. They somehow managed to turn Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel, and Gabriel Moreno into Erik Swanson and Dalton Varsho. Say what you will about AA, but at least he’s not out there Shapiro-ing it up.

  35. To be clear, I’m not complaining. But I’m just suggesting possible upgrades. My suggestions could be dumb. That’s why I posted it. To see what everyone thinks.

  36. Kimbrel to the Phillies…..sure would be nice if free agents realize there’s other places to be besides the NL east.

  37. @49 Exactly what are you laughing at. The Blue Jays did pretty well in that exchange as Varsho is nearly a 6 WAR OF (5.9). The fact that we didn’t trade for Varsho shows that we’d never be able to get Reynolds either. And Swansen is a high leverage reliever (1.8 WAR). Not to mention that the Jays had an excess at C. Neither Gurriel nor Hernandez got 3 WAR last year.

    Grissom will be just fine at SS. I think he’s better than Kim – better hitter and cromulent fielder. AA said he’s not trading D’Arnaud, period.

  38. Varsho is a league average hitter, if that, and the Jays traded a top-ten prospect and a useful young player for him. If your side of the trade is predicated on outfield defense to make any sense at all, you done screwed up.

    It indicates to me the trademark of Shapiro-run organizations, which is valuing years of organizational control over pretty much any other aspect of a player.

    Kimbrel doesn’t move the needle much anymore, but it’ll still be sad to see him in a Phillies uniform.

  39. Grissom’s gonna hit 9th. It’s okay to have a black hole hitting 9th.

    I’ll let you guys decide if .291 AVG .792 OPS is a black hole.

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