With Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, and Trea Turner off the board, just one of the top shortstops in this loaded free agent class remains unsigned: Dansby Swanson.
In fairness to the group, Swanson is not necessarily on the same level as the other three, but he does represent the opportunity at a significant overall upgrade to a number of rosters around baseball. For the Cubs, even if he brings only a league-average bat (he was quite a bit better than that two of the last three years), the ability to put his top-tier glove at shortstop and move Nico Hoerner’s also-top-tier glove to second base could have a multiplicative effect not only on the team’s defense, but also on which players they would otherwise have to include in the lineup on the regular (instead of mixing and matching).
Which is to say: yes, I’m still obsessing about whether the Cubs can or will land Swanson. Unfortunately, I am absolutely conditioned to be waiting for the Passan bomb where Swanson is signing with the Not Cubs. It is not fun. But that is obsessiveness.
Among the latest bits out there, Jon Heyman writes this of the Swanson market:
Dansby Swanson married Chicago Red Stars star Mallory Pugh on Saturday, adding to Cubs speculation. Other outside possibilities include the Dodgers and Red Sox, who are seriously considering Swanson now and likely prefer to keep Trevor Story at 2B. The Dodgers are said to be on the periphery and would need a price drop. The incumbent Braves are cautious payers but can’t be ruled out.
The Twins appear to be regrouping after losing out on Carlos Correa, so Swanson’s likely out.
As noted this morning in the Bullets, Red Sox manager Alex Cora recently followed Swanson and his wife on Instagram, which is one of those probably meaningless things, but it could mean the team’s interest – and recruiting efforts – are sincere. It does strike me as odd, though, that the Red Sox would bring in Trevor Story last year as CLEAR Xander Bogaerts insurance, then see Bogaerts leave, and then sign another shortstop anyway. All while trying to lock up Rafael Devers to a $300+ million deal. Not saying it won’t happen, but it just seems odd.
As for the Dodgers, it doesn’t “feel” like a Dodgers move, especially if they are lying in wait for Shohei Ohtani as everyone thinks. But then again, I do think it also doesn’t feel very Dodgers for them to just say, yeah, sure, we’ll move Gavin Lux over there from second base and it’ll be fine.
As for the Braves, I increasingly think they do want to hand the position over to Vaughn Grissom if they can’t get Swanson back for a bargain (which seems awfully unlikely at this point). I never rule out a hometown team, though.
And as for the Twins, I won’t reject Heyman’s comment out of hand, but they surprised everyone last year on Correa, and now they have an opening at shortstop to do it again (and plenty of payroll space, after offering $285 million to Correa).
In sum, I think probably the Cubs do still make the most sense, but you’re talking about them as like a 55% favorite, rather than “oh, yeah, it’s gonna happen.” Even if I had an acceptable offer on the table from the Cubs at this point, if I’m Swanson, I’m at least checking in with everyone else one last time to see if their circumstances have shifted in the last week.