MLB Rumors: Dansby Swanson and the Chicago Cubs have reportedly agreed to terms on a 7 year, $177 million deal with a full no-trade clause.
Swanson, who turns 29 in February, was the #1 overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, and was traded to the Atlanta Braves along Ender Inciarte and Aaron Blair in the ill-fated Shelby Miller trade. Swanson had generally been a fine but unspectacular player until 2022, when he put up an above-average season for the first time in his career and finished 12th in the National League MVP balloting while recording a 5.7 bWAR.
Swanson was lumped in with Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Trea Turner this offseason, though he was pretty clearly the weakest of those four, and probably shouldn’t be treated as being in the same category. Swanson is a career .255/.321/.417 hitter who is a quality defensive shortstop, but hasn’t generally hit like those other shortstops have.
The Cubs now have Swanson for his age 29-35 seasons, and Swanson’s glove is good enough that he should be able to stick at shortstop for most, if not all, of the term of the deal. However, it is interesting that after trading away Javy Baez — their homegrown, slick fielding, high strikeout shortstop with some pop and OBP issues — during the 2021 season, they’ve now signed a long-term deal for a shortstop with many of those same characteristics. Swanson and Baez are fourth and fifth in the majors in the most Ks since the start of the 2020 season.
The risk for the Cubs is that Swanson had a career year at the age of 28 — right around the time position players peak — and he is going to be a 2-2.5 win player going forward. If Swanson continues to rake like he did in 2022, though, this is going to look like a very team-friendly deal. I’m betting on the former, but I’ve been wrong before.