Free-agent shortstop Dansby Swanson and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a 7-year, $177 million deal, major-league and team sources confirmed to The Athletic. ESPN’s Jeff Passan was first to report the Cubs and Swanson were finalizing a deal. Here’s what you need to know:
- Swanson hit .277 with 25 home runs and a career-high 96 RBIs in 162 games.
- He earned his first All-Star selection and won his first Gold Glove in 2022.
- Swanson led all National League players with 21 Outs Above Average, up from 19 in 2021.
In 2022, Swanson played elite defense at shortstop. By OAA, Swanson was the second-most valuable fielder in all of baseball, preventing 21 outs and 16 runs above average, behind only Detroit Tigers second baseman Jonathan Schoop (a former shortstop), an incredible showing that was at least two grades better than Swanson’s previously established level. At the plate, Swanson had a full-season career-best .776 OPS and 115 OPS+.
Late in the 2022 season, Swanson and Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos expressed a desire for the 28-year-old to return to Atlanta.
“He’s been a really important player for us; he’s a great player,” Anthopoulos said. “Just like all of our free agents, we’re going to stay engaged and see where all that goes.”
Swanson has spent his entire major-league career with the Braves since making his MLB debut in August 2016. He helped the franchise win five straight National League East division titles from 2018 to 2022.
How Swanson fits the Cubs
The Cubs needed to make a splash this offseason. Going 0-for-4 on this class of All-Star shortstops would have raised major questions about the team’s direction (or lack thereof). After sell-offs at the last two trade deadlines, Kyle Hendricks is the only remaining active player from the 2016 World Series team, an improving farm system is not quite ready to begin churning out major-league hitters again, and a big-market franchise should regularly be involved in these types of deals.
Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer – who has been more concerned with years than dollars as he tries to preserve flexibility for the future – landed a Gold Glove shortstop on a relatively short-term deal, at least compared to the decade-plus commitments that Trea Turner, Carlos Correa and Xander Bogaerts already received. The Cubs are leaning into pitching and defense and betting that Swanson’s mid-career offensive surge can carry into his 30s. – Mooney
(Photo: Bill Streicher / USA Today)