On Saturday, December 17th, multiple sources announced that the Chicago Cubs had agreed to a seven-year, $177 million contract with Dansby Swanson, which included a no-trade clause.
This was the second-largest contract in Cubs history, trailing only the $184 million contract signed by Jason Heyward a few years ago. This also puts Swanson in a very restricted group of players to have signed for seven or more years with the Cubs, with Alfonso Soriano’s eight-year $136 million contract and Heywards’ eight-year $184 million contract.
Out of the four high-priced options who entered the offseason, Carlos Correa (signed with the New York Mets), Trea Turner (signed with the Philadelphia Phillies), and Xander Bogaerts (signed with the San Diego Padres), Swanson was the last shortstop still available.
All four players were linked to the Cubs, but Swanson, who has established himself as a top defender, ended up signing with them, on a deal that puts Swanson close to his wife, Mallory Pugh who plays for the Chicago Red Stars professional soccer club.
Swanson’s signing comes after those of center fielder Cody Bellinger, pitcher Jameson Taillon, and reliever Brad Boxberger, all of which demonstrate the Cubs’ sincere desire to be a very competitive team the following season.
— New York Post (@nypost) December 17, 2022
What can the Chicago Cubs expect from Dansby Swanson?
Dansby Swanson is a shortstop who has spent his entire career thus far with the Atlanta Braves after getting acquired by the Braves just six months after the D-backs had taken him with the first overall pick in the MLB Draft. It is a deal that generated some buzz around the Atlanta fans who expected the team to re-sign Swanson after he proved a great player during his years at Atlanta.
In terms of stats, Swanson has consistently performed well over the course of his career. In 2021, he hit .248 with 27 home runs and 88 RBIs, and had a .760 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) on a season that saw him winning the World Series with the Atlanta Braves. He also had a strong defensive season, recording a .982 fielding percentage and making several impressive plays at shortstop.
During the 2022 season, Swanson hit .277 with 25 home runs and 96 RBIs, he also had an OPS of .776. On the defensive side he recorded a .986 fielding percentage which shows that he improved in basically every stat, playing in 2 more games than in the 2021 season.
One area where Swanson could potentially make an impact for the Cubs is at the plate. He has shown a strong ability to make contact and get on base, which could help to bolster the team’s offense. Additionally, his defensive skills could be a valuable asset to the team, as he has a reputation for being reliable in the field and making difficult plays look easy.
Overall, the addition of Dansby Swanson to the Chicago Cubs is a promising one. His combination of offensive and defensive abilities make him a valuable asset to any team, and he should be able to contribute significantly to the success of the Cubs in the coming seasons.
I am forever grateful to the city of Atlanta and the Braves for the last 6+ years of my life. God has blessed my family and I with so much from our time in Atlanta, for which we will never take for granted. pic.twitter.com/fWrU1BlXnu
— Dansby Swanson (@LieutenantDans7) December 21, 2022
What happens to Nico Hoerner now?
With Swansons’ arrival, Cubs shortstop Nico Hoerner will almost certainly be moved to second base, where he was a gold glove finalist in 2020. Hoerner displayed elite defensive skills last season at shortstop, finishing with 13 outs above average and only being outdone by Swanson 21.
Hoerner commented on the possibility of the Cubs acquiring a new shortstop:
“If they make moves that are going to help us win baseball games, that’s not going to be a huge issue around here,” Hoerner said in August. “Obviously, I believe in myself as a shortstop, and I’ve said that for a while, and people believe that now. But [my focus is just to] continue on. And if we have the issue of having too many good players, then I’ll like that problem.”
Was Swanson the perfect signing for the Cubs and is it enough?
The answer only time will tell, but Swanson ended up signing for way less than all the other premier shortstops who were also on the open market, which on the financial side is already perfect for the Cubs.
Trea Turner left the Los Angeles Dodgers to sign an 11-year, $300 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. The San Diego Padres took Xander Bogaerts away from the Boston Red Sox with an 11-year contract as well worth a reported $280 million.
Carlos Correa was the biggest winner of all as he signed on with the New York Mets for $350 million over 12 years.
The other question is, is it enough? We can’t forget that the Cubs failed to sign Jose Abreu, Christian Vazquez and Carlos Rodon, and also failed to re-sign starting catcher Contreras, which is still a position to fill for the Cubs at the moment.
Chicago has a new shortstop!
Free agent Dansby Swanson is reportedly coming to the Cubbies! pic.twitter.com/OJcEMbd8qv
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) December 17, 2022
What Is The Cubs Next Move?
All we were told was money could and would be spent this offseason to improve the roster tremendously. Swanson is a great fit for the Cubs and this is a great long-term contract to have on the books. But more could have been done and should have been done prior to this for the future.
We would predict that the Cubs’ next target would be a catcher, on which the free agent market only offers players like Gary Sanchez or Jorge Alfaro as decent options. Another option is to trade for a catcher, with teams such as the Toronto Blue Jays interested in moving one of their three quality catchers, Alejandro Kirk, Danny Jansen, and prospect Gabriel Moreno.
To get one of them would probably mean that the Cubs would have to give either prospects or outfielder Ian Happ, which is something I can’t see happening especially if the Cubs are really trying to be contenders next season, so these next few seasons will be crucial for the Cubs to fill the needed spots in the team.