Any conversation we’ve had about the Cubs seriously contending in 2023 starts with their pursuit of one of the big four free agent shortstops to be: Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, and Dansby Swanson. The Cubs will need a big bat for the middle of their lineup, and those are four of the biggest (and youngest) bats likely available this offseason.
But that’s not all, the Cubs have also been connected to the group as a whole multiple times this season, and in a few cases (Bogaerts, Correa) the rumors have gotten awfully specific.
But it’s also important to remember that all four shortstops might not necessarily make it to free agency. I still think it’s likely, mind you, but Bogaerts and Correa technically have to opt out of their existing contracts and apparently, for Dansby Swanson, an extension is still very much on the table.
Here’s Ken Rosenthal this morning:
Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson, a potential free agent, confirmed he is engaged with the team in contract discussions, a process that began around the All-Star break, according to major-league sources. The talks, first reported by the New York Post’s Jon Heyman, have yet to result in a deal.
And for his part, Swanson seems interested in making something work:
“The easiest way I can say it is, from the conversations we’ve had, they want me here and this is my home — I want to be here,” Swanson said. “One would think (that would lead to a deal), right? But we’ve seen crazy things happen before. I’ve really gotten to a point of just surrendering that over. This is my home. But wherever the good Lord is going to put me is where I’m supposed to be. I’ve come to terms with that.”
With the exception of Freddie Freeman, whose deal may have been scuttled by poor communication between agent and team, the Atlanta Braves have been among the best teams in baseball at extending their own players, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get something done, especially given how good Swanson has been this season, how young he is, how much competition he’d face in free agency, and how badly they need him. Though it’s also worth pointing out that Swanson and Freeman share representation.
With all that said, this isn’t necessarily awful news for the Cubs, who may well see Swanson as their fourth best option among the four (potential) free agent shortstops), unless they really do like how well he elevates the baseball, but the more options there are, the better chances the Cubs have at (1) landing one of them and (2) on more favorable terms. So your rooting interest here is for no deal to get done. But like I said, the Braves have been very good at this, so I’m not really expecting that, as of today. We’ll see.