Dansby Swanson Has High Expectations for the 2023 Chicago Cubs

Social Navigation

Dansby Swanson Has High Expectations for the 2023 Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs

Getting as paid as you can get paid in free agency is important. That is the reality of the system in baseball, and I don’t think there is a thing wrong with players wanting to secure as much cash as they can in the limited time they have available, physically, to be professional athletes.

That said, a lot of free agents do have multiple options, roughly in the same contract range, when choosing their next team. So there are other factors that go into it, from the home city and ballpark to the organizational culture to the amenities a team could offer a player and his family.

But I tend to think the biggest non-financial factor for most players in free agency is whether they believe they can WIN on this team during the life of whatever contract they might sign. There are exceptions, sure, but these are all highly competitive people who have spent their life competing at an extremely high level from the time they were kids. They are used to winning. They play because they want to keep winning. It’s a feeling you’re always chasing.

From everything everyone has said about new Chicago Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson – including Swanson himself – that all goes double for him. His almost maniacal focus on winning was the stuff of legend with the Braves, and it’s been just about the only thing he’s talked about since signing with the Cubs. Did he want to get paid? I think his seven-year, $177 million contract suggests that he did. But is there any chance he would’ve signed with the Cubs if he thought he couldn’t win? I really don’t believe so.

It should not surprise you, then, that here at the start of Spring Training, Swanson is talking about his high expectations for the team. A team he already enjoys being around.

“Good teams hang out together,” Swanson told Cubs.com. “And I feel like this is a group that can embody that. This is a year that we really feel that, not only is there an expectation to just come out here and play well, but to win. And I think when you start to make everything about that, then good things follow.”

In other words, Swanson doesn’t see this as a mere transitional year. It’s already time to come together as a team and hit the ground running.

“There’s no other reason to play this game other than to win,” Swanson said. “That’s why I came. It was to be a part of something bigger than myself. It was to be a part of a team that could bring a fourth World Series for this great organization.”

Can I just say that, while it’s mostly standard stuff you’d hope to hear from any newly-signed, big-contract player … there’s just something about that phrasing at the end that hits me just right. The idea of wanting to win right now, here in 2023, and also to have that winning be absorbed into the entire history of the organization. Subtle thing. Small thing. But I like it a lot.

More from Dansby Swanson on the trajectory of his career, and the path that brought him to the Cubs, via the Tribune’s Meghan Montemurro:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.